STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Lamar Stevens scored a career-high 33 points and No. 22 Penn State beat Minnesota 83-77 on Saturday.
Izaiah Brockington added 10 points for the Nittany Lions (18-5, 8-4 Big Ten) who won their sixth straight and snapped a five-game losing streak to Minnesota.
Daniel Oturu had a career high 32 points and grabbed 16 rebounds while Mike Carr added 20 points for the Golden Gophers (12-11, 6-7 Big Ten) who lost their second straight.
The Nittany Lions never trailed and led by 19 with 15:53 to play before Carr found his groove.
The sophomore guard, who’d made just one basket to that point, took over with 18 of Minnesota’s next 22 points in just over five minutes. The surge pulled the Gophers within eight with 10:21 left.
They kept coming and cut it to 71-68 with 4:48 to play but couldn’t get any closer.
The Nittany Lions used an 11-4 run, scoring all their points inside the paint or from the foul line, to start the game.
Oturu scored the next six points to cut Penn State’s lead to 11-10 before the Nittany Lion offense got rolling again with back-to-back 3-pointers from Stevens and Myles Dread.
They sparked a 23-10 Penn State run into the half’s waning minutes where Brockington got loose on a fastbreak and finished with a left-handed dunk that put Penn State up by 14.
Oturu rolled in a layup before Stevens hit a pair of free throws to give Penn State a 36-22 lead at halftime.
Minnesota: The Gophers have struggled from 3-point range all season. They entered Saturday having made just 32% on the season and didn’t make a 3-pointer until a minute into the second half. Still, Carr’s gritty second-half effort gave them a shot when it appeared over early.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions are playing with confidence in every area of the court, particularly Stevens who played his best offensive game of the season.
Minnesota: Hosts Iowa on Feb. 16.
Penn State: Visits Purdue on Tuesday.