Minnesota knocked down three straight 3-pointers in overtime to pull away in a 95-84 win over Penn State at the Bryce Jordan Center on Monday night.
After the Golden Gophers took the lead on a layup at the start of overtime, Dupree McBrayer connected from beyond the arc and Jamir Harris followed with back-to-back 3s to push Minnesota ahead 85-76 with 2:43.
“Give Minnesota credit, they caught fire — absolute fire — hitting those three 3s,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said.
The Nittany Lions, who went to overtime for the second straight game after edging Nebraska on Friday, couldn’t recover Monday night. Penn State trailed by as many as 13 in the second half before pulling even with more than four minutes left in regulation to set up a tight finish. Penn State sent the game to overtime on a 3-pointer by Tony Carr in the final seconds, but the Nittany Lions couldn’t match Minnesota in the extra period.
“They made the big shots in overtime,” Chambers said. “We made the big plays in overtime against Nebraska. We’ll learn from this. We’ll get better. We’ll get back to work.”
Carr finished with 33 points to lead Penn State, and Mike Watkins had 20 points and 11 rebounds. Nate Mason led Minnesota with 25 points, and McBrayer added 24. Jordan Murphy finished with 22 points and 19 rebounds for the Golden Gophers, who snapped a three-game losing streak.
Player of the game
Minnesota guard Jamir Harris: Harris made the most of his first start of the season, finishing with 16 points for the Golden Gophers. The guard — who went into Monday averaging 3.1 points per game — hit back-to-back 3-pointers in overtime to give his team a commanding nine-point lead.
Reaves remains out
Penn State guard Josh Reaves missed his third straight game Monday night.
Reaves has been out due to an academic concern. He’s started 16 games this season, averaging 10.8 points, good for fourth on the team. He also leads the team with 2.4 steals per game.
Relying on Carr
Carr took over for Penn State in the final seven-plus minutes of regulation Monday night.
The Nittany Lions guard accounted 10 of his team’s final 13 attempts from the field in the second half. He assisted on two of the other attempts during the same stretch to lead Penn State to overtime.
“When he got it going like that, you should go to the hot hand,” Penn State guard Shep Garner said. “He made the right plays.”
Carr finished 12 for 30 from the field to score 33 points. His 30 shots accounted for 40.5 percent of the Nittany Lions’ attempts in the game. With no one else stepping up, Chambers said Carr needed to attack for the Nittany Lions.
“But for future success for this team, no, it’s got to be a lot less than (30 shots),” Chambers said. “It’s got to be around that 15-18 range. His assists need to go up a little bit, and he needs to make everybody better around him, but I can’t fault his aggressiveness.”
Penn State at Northwestern, 2 p.m. Saturday: It will be the second matchup between the Nittany Lions and Wildcats this season. Penn State beat Northwestern 78-63 on Jan. 5. The Nittany Lions then take on Ohio State on the road Jan. 25.