Lawrence Westbrook scored 15 points and Lawrence McKenzie added 11 as Minnesota completed a season sweep of Penn State with a 75-68 victory in front of 13,222 at Williams Arena Sunday afternoon.
Blake Hoffarber and Dan Coleman each chipped in with 10 points for Minnesota (17-9, 7-7), which won its seventh straight over the Nittany Lions.
Jamelle Cornley, who scored the Lions’ first 13 points of the second half, finished with 20 points and David Jackson added 19 to lead Penn State (12-14, 4-10).
Sluggish play in the early going combined with red-hot shooting by Penn State had the Gophers in a double-digit hole late in the first half.
But Minnesota sandwiched a 32-7 run around intermission to take control of the game.
Six different Gophers scored as Minnesota opened the second half by scoring 15 of the first 16 points to turn a 37-35 halftime deficit into a 50-38 lead.
Minnesota’s advantage would reach as many as 13 points with just over five minutes to play when a pair of Dan Colman free throws made it 65-52 Gophers.
Penn State responded with 12-1 run of its own that was capped by back-to-back 3-pointers by Danny Morrissey to slice Minnesota’s edge to just 66-64 with 2:38 remaining. The Lions were unable to connect on a field goal the rest of the way and Minnesota hit 7 of 8 from the free-throw line to put the game on ice for the 75-68 win.
A barrage of 3-pointers highlighted the first 20 minutes with both teams pouring in six each from beyond the arc.
Penn State, which shot a scalding 64 percent from the floor during the first half, got 13 points from Jackson, including three 3-pointers during a 14-2 run that helped the Lions forge a 21-12 lead, with just over 10 minutes to play in the period.
The Lions’ lead would grow to as many as 13 when Morrissey canned his second 3-pointer of the half to make it 31-18 Penn State with 6:55 remaining.
But the Gophers refused to fold and responded by scoring 14 of the final 20 points of the half to slice the PSU advantage to just 37-35 at the break.
Damian Johnson, Hoffarber and McKenzie all connected from beyond the arc during a 10-1 Gopher run that pulled Minnesota to within four points at 32-28.
A conventional 3-point play by Cornley made it 35-28 before Spencer Tollackson scored back-to-back buckets and Hoffarber drilled another triple to tie the game at 35-35.
A layup by PSU’s Stanley Pringle in the closing seconds gave the Lions their two-point halftime edge.
Minnesota returns to action on Wednesday, Feb. 27, when the Gophers travel to Purdue to take on the Boilermakers at 8 p.m. The Game will be televised by the Big Ten Network.