Penn State Cruises to 84-65 Win over Minnesota on Senior Night
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — In Penn State’s final home game of the 2020-21 season, the Nittany Lions defeated Minnesota with ease 84-65, acquiring their sixth conference victory in 18 tries and delivering the Golden Gophers’ their sixth straight loss.
This game marked the celebration of the graduating class of 2021, which will go down in history as the winningest in program history. Jamari Wheeler, John Harrar, Trent Buttrick, Kyle McCloskey and Taylor Nussbaum were among the seniors who were celebrated beforehand; all five were listed as starters for the Nittany Lions to celebrate their Penn State careers. Some of those seniors are the last remaining Nittany Lions from the Penn State team that won the NIT in 2018.
As for the game, both Minnesota and Penn State exchanged shots for most of the first half until a dominant run by the Nittany Lions completely shifted momentum in their favor; they managed to put up 22 points in the final 4:34 of the first half. That run would be capped off by a Myles Dread steal and 3-point buzzer-beater, sending Penn State into the half with a 46-28 lead.
Unlike most games, the Nittany Lions kept their foot on the gas for the second half, and a big reason why was the senior class.
Trent Buttrick had a career night in his final game at the Bryce Jordan Center, tallying 13 points and seven rebounds while hitting three from deep in the contest. John Harrar had another double-double, and Jamari Wheeler scored in double figures as well.
The win was the biggest for the Nittany Lions since their 20-point upset of Virginia Tech back in December. It was also a complete 180 from the team’s worst loss of the season back on Friday against Purdue. That Purdue game was the third that the Nittany Lions had played in a six-day stretch. The rest between Friday and Wednesday was one that Penn State head coach Jim Ferry felt was necessary.
“I thought it helped,” Ferry said. “It was three games in a week, and late in the year, we looked a little fatigued.”
Myreon Jones played a big role for the Nittany Lions as well, as he led the team in scoring with 17 points. Izaiah Brockington was right behind him with 14 while also picking up seven boards.
Minnesota and Penn State came into the night holding the No. 11 and No. 12 spots respectively in the Big Ten. The two were a win apart, making this result crucial in terms of seeding for the Big Ten tournament. With Penn State picking up the win, it now moves into the No. 11 spot in the conference. If the season were to end today, the Nittany Lions would be matched up against Nebraska in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.
The Nittany Lions still have one more game to cap off the regular season, as they’ll go on the road Sunday to face Maryland: the same Maryland team that the Nittany Lions beat 55-50 at the BJC a few weeks ago.
Logan Bourandas is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.