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Gophers Drop Close One To Penn State, 66-63

(Sports Network) - Critical free throws in the final minute proved to be the difference as the Penn State Nittany Lions held on for the 66-63 win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers in Big Ten Conference action at the Bryce Jordan Center.

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Talor Battle, who tied a career-high with seven three-point conversions, finished with a game-high 28 points and also made good on a couple of free throws in the final 22.1 seconds. David Jackson accounted for 13 points for the Nittany Lions (14-11, 7-7 Big Ten) as they won their second in a row.

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The Golden Gophers (17-9, 6-8) were paced by Blake Hoffarber who tallied 18 points and handed out seven assists, but he also missed a potential game-tying three-pointer as time expired. Trevor Mbakwe recorded a double-double with 16 points and a game-high 12 rebounds as the team lost for the fifth time in six games.

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Minnesota shot just 39.3 percent from the field in the first half, yet even though PSU converted seven three-point field goals in the frame the visitors trailed by just a single point at the break, 29-28.

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In the second half the Gophers knocked down 56.5 percent from the field to make things interesting but free throws, including a pair by Cammeron Woodyard with just 13.2 seconds remaining, proved to be the difference for the Lions.

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Penn State finished the night shooting 12-of-31 behind the three-point line and 43.1 percent from the floor overall. More importantly, the hosts turned the ball over a mere five times.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.