Minnesota 78, Penn St. 62
MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—Kris Humphries scored 25 points as the Gophers ended the regular season Saturday with a 78-62 win over Penn State, sending the Nittany Lions to their 10th straight loss.
Humphries became the Big Ten’s first freshman to finish the regular season as the conference’s leading scorer and rebounder. The last freshman to lead the conference in scoring was Michael Redd in 1998, and no freshman has been the leading rebounder since at least 1959.
Ben Johnson, playing in his final home game at Minnesota, added 22 points for the Gophers (11-17, 3-13 Big Ten), who secured the No. 10 seed in next week’s Big Ten tournament. Fellow senior Michael Bauer had 10 points and eight rebounds.
Penn State (9-18, 3-13) lost its 24th straight conference road game.
For the Gophers’ home finale, Minnesota coach Dan Monson started all five of his seniors—only Johnson was a regular starter this season. But some in the crowd were more concerned about another Gophers player who might have played his final game at Williams Arena.
After the Big Ten tournament, Gophers fans will anxiously wait to see if Humphries, who came to Minnesota this season after originally committing to Duke, will turn pro after only one year at Minnesota.
A group of students chanted “One more year!” while Humphries shot free throws in the first half.
Penn State made a final charge midway through the second half. Robert Summers converted a three-point play to pull Penn State to 64-57 with 5:46 to play.
But Humphries, who finished with seven rebounds, came up with a big block on the Lions’ next possession and Johnson started a 12-2 run with a layup.
Jan Jagla led the Lions with 17 points. Marlon Smith added 16 and Aaron Johnson 13.
Humphries scored six unanswered points to put the Gophers up 43-36 early in the second half and brought the crowd to its feet with a couple of powerful dunks. With Minnesota up 38-36, Humphries backed into his defender in the paint and spun around for a two-handed jam. Then he added a free throw on the Gophers’ next possession and followed with another two-handed dunk.
Jagla scored to pull the Nittany Lions to 45-41 with 15:51 to play, but Humphries added another dunk, Johnson hit consecutive 3-pointers and Adam Boone scored on a drive to put Minnesota up 55-42 with 11:09 left.
The teams traded runs in the first half. The Lions went on a 13-0 run to take a 28-17 lead with 7:04 to play in the half. Minnesota answered by reeling off 14 unanswered to go up 31-28.
Johnson’s 3-pointer with 1:01 to play in the half gave the Gophers a 34-33 halftime lead.