Minnesota 72

(7-5, 0-1 Big Ten)

Penn State 75

(7-5, 1-0 Big Ten)

    8:00 PM ET, January 7, 2004

    Bryce Jordan Center, State College, Pennsylvania

    1 2 T
    MINN 45 2772
    PSU 38 3775

    Penn State 75, Minnesota 72

    STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- Kris Humphries was singing the SportsCenter theme song, but it was Jan Jagla and Penn State who stole the show.

    Jagla scored 20 of his career-high 28 points in the first half and had 10 rebounds to lead Penn State to a 75-72 come-from-behind victory over Minnesota in the Big Ten opener for both teams on Wednesday.

    It was the first time Penn State (7-5) won its Big Ten opener since 1996, and the first time since 2000 that the Nittany Lions got above .500 in league play.

    Humphries, Minnesota's star freshman, had an alley-oop dunk for a 59-52 lead in the second half.

    "He'd make a shot and do the ESPN thing, 'Duh nuh nuh, Duh nuh nuh," Penn State's Aaron Johnson said. "I thought that was hilarious. As a player, you're caught up in it, and then he dunks and its, 'Duh nuh nuh."

    The Gophers (7-5) would push their lead to 63-54, before Penn State made a 13-2 run to take their first lead of the game.

    Marlon Smith had two 3-pointers and a layup in the run, and Johnson scored the go-ahead basket, a putback with 4:14 left, to make it 67-65.

    "I'm very proud of this team," Penn State coach Ed DeChellis said. "We were down nine in the second half, and we didn't play well in the first half -- we were just really lethargic, I thought, and Jan kept us in the game offensively. But I thought in the second half we guarded a little better and went back to the zone."

    Jagla would only score one basket after that, a bank shot that made it 69-67 with 3:15 left. But he saved his biggest play for defense.

    Humphries hit a jumper in the lane with 28.5 seconds left to pull Minnesota within 73-72. Ben Johnson stole the Penn State inbounds pass, and Aaron Robinson had a shot in the lane, but missed.

    Jagla got the rebound for Penn State, and Marlon Smith hit a pair of free throws with 19.8 seconds left to make it 75-72.

    "I just didn't want to foul him," Jagla said. "He was a lot shorter than me, and he was trying to take it to the basket, so I just tried to stay in between him and the basket. And then I got the rebound, and that was the big play right there."

    It's the kind of performance that Penn State fans have been hoping for from Jagla for three years, but in the past he was foul prone and often let other players rattle him on offense.

    "He's been our most valuable player by far this year," Aaron Johnson said. "I knew he had it under him. But I think this year, the reason he's being so effective is he's not letting people get in his head. He knows he's good, and he's not going to let people mess him up."

    Minnesota had one more chance, but Adam Boone missed a 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left, and the rebound went over the backboard and out of bounds to Penn State.

    "They just played harder than us down the stretch," Gophers coach Dan Monson said. "I think they had five or six second chances in those last few minutes, and you just can't have that. You have to force one-and-outs. We've got a lot of work to do. We're just not playing well together."

    Ndu Egekeze scored 15 points for Penn State, Smith scored 13 and Aaron Johnson had 11.

    The Gophers had led by as many as nine points, 63-54, in the second half before Penn State's go-ahead run.

    Humphries led Minnesota with 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Michael Bauer scored 19 points.

    Adam Boone's 3-pointer with 3 seconds left capped a 7-0 run and gave Minnesota a 45-38 halftime lead. The Gophers had led by as many as 10 points in the first half, but Penn State fought back, tying the game at 38 on Jagla's jumper.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    2003-04 Season

    » Jan 7, 2004 @PSU 75, MINN 72Recap
    Mar 6, 2004 @MINN 78, PSU 62Recap