GAME NOTES: The Penn State Nittany Lions and the Minnesota Golden Gophers will try to cap their seasons off with a win as they meet head-to-head in a Big Ten Conference showdown at Williams Arena.
Penn State has lost three of its last five games, but is coming off a win over Northwestern on Thursday, 59-32, in which the Lions held the Wildcats to 23.3 percent shooting from the floor. Penn State brings a 6-11 conference record into the season finale.
Minnesota has dropped three of its last four contests on the season, and lost its most recent game - a 66-56 defeat at the hands of 16th-ranked Michigan last Saturday. The Gophers boast a slightly better conference record than Penn State at 7-10.
Minnesota has dominated the series with Penn State through the first 40 games, leading 30-10. The Gophers defeated the Nittany Lions in the only other head- to-head clash between the sides earlier this season, 68-65, at Penn State.
Penn State dominated Northwestern on Thursday night, jumping out to a 32-15 lead at the end of the first half. The Lions never looked back, cruising to the victory while holding the Wildcats to a season low in points (32) and to 3-of-22 shooting from 3-point range. D.J. Newbill scored 12 points to pace Penn State, while Tim Frazier and Brandon Taylor chipped in with 11 points apiece. Ross Travis added a team-high 10 rebounds in the win.
Newbill leads Penn State in scoring on the season with a 17.6 ppg average on just 34.5 percent shooting from the floor. His 5 rpg is second on the team behind Travis' 7 rpg average, and 23 steals is second on the Lions behind Frazier's 50. Frazier averages 15.6 ppg for the Nittany Lions, adding a team- leading 169 assists to his resume on the year. Penn State is scoring 72.3 ppg this season, and is giving up 70.8 ppg to opponents.
There was a lot riding on Michigan's night against Minnesota last Saturday, as the Wolverines, with the victory over the Gophers, clinched at least a share of the Big Ten regular-season title. Austin Hollins scored a team-high 16 points for Minnesota, while Andre Hollins chipped in with 10 points and three assists. DeAndre Mathieu netted nine points and led the Gophers with seven rebounds and five assists in the loss.
Andre Hollins leads a trio of double-digit point scorers this season for the Golden Gophers, who net an average of 71.7 ppg as a unit. Hollins scores a team-leading 14.6 ppg for Minnesota, followed by Mathieu who tallies 11.8 ppg with a team-best 130 assists on the year. Austin Hollins checks in with 11.6 ppg with 5.7 rpg, which is second behind Elliott Eliason's 7.1 rpg average. Minnesota is giving up just 67.9 ppg to its opponents on the year.
The first contest between these two teams during the season was a thriller, as the Gophers came away with a three-point victory on the road. Now they return home to a friendly crowd, and can put that solid scoring defense to good use in the regular-season finale for both squads.
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