Penn State 62

(6-9, 0-2 Big Ten)

Minnesota 83

(11-3, 1-0 Big Ten)

    8:00 PM ET, January 8, 2005

    1 2 T
    PSU 28 3462
    MINN 41 4283

    Top Performers

    Penn State: B. Luber 11 Pts, 3 Reb, 6 Ast

    Minnesota: J. Hagen 18 Pts, 8 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl, 4 Blk

    Minnesota has longest winning streak under Monson

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- One game into the Big Ten season, the Minnesota Gophers already have surpassed most people's expectations.

    "Two months ago, people said we wouldn't win a game, let alone a Big Ten game," Gophers coach Dan Monson said.

    How about nine in row?

    Aaron Robinson hit six 3-pointers to finish with 19 points, Jeff Hagen added 18 and Minnesota opened conference play with its ninth straight victory, beating Penn State 83-62 on Saturday night.

    The Gophers' winning streak is the longest under Monson, whose team hasn't lost since falling 70-69 to Florida State on Nov. 30. Minnesota last won nine in a row in 1997, when the Gophers had 12 straight victories. That season was wiped from the record books, though, after the Clem Haskins academic fraud scandal.

    This year's team probably would prefer to delete last season, also. A year ago, Minnesota lost its Big Ten opener to the Nittany Lions, the first of nine straight conference losses. Hagen said the team had high expectations last year.

    "This year it's nice to be able to back it up," he said with a grin. "We're actually going to do well this year."

    Minnesota (11-3, 1-0 Big Ten) entered this season with extremely low expectations with the losses of forward Kris Humphries to the NBA, point guard Adam Boone to a torn biceps tendon and guard Moe Hargrow to ineligibility.

    Only five lettermen are back from last year's team. But Robinson and Hagen -- two of those lettermen -- provided Minnesota, which led by as many as 29 points, the impressive outside-inside combination on Saturday night the Gophers badly lacked in recent seasons.

    Robinson's six 3s tied a career high.

    "In warmups I was feeling it," he said. "I just knew it was going to be one of those nights."

    Vincent Grier, a junior college transfer who has led the Gophers in scoring this season, had 13 points, including a thundering one-handed baseline dunk that gave Minnesota a 59-34 lead with 13:47 to play.

    Robinson went 6-for-11 from the floor and added a free throw. His final three came on a four-point play to make it 50-30 as Minnesota began pulling away early in the second half.

    Penn State (6-9, 0-2) looked disoriented on offense. The Nittany Lions played without guard Marlon Smith, who didn't make the trip due to an illness. Smith is averaging 11.8 points per game, although it's doubtful he could've made a difference against Minnesota's tight man-to-man coverage.

    Penn State coach Ed DeChellis said it's going to take a while for his young players to get used to Big Ten competition. His team was outrebounded 42-33 and allowed 11 first-half offensive rebounds.

    "They just don't understand yet what we have to do and the level of intensity," DeChellis said.

    Although they had four players in double figures, the Lions shot a paltry 18-for-52 from the floor, including 6-for-22 from 3-point range. Travis Parker led Penn State with 13 points while Aaron Johnson and Geary Claxton each had 12.

    Both teams started hot from the floor but lost their scoring steam midway through the first half. Minnesota started the game 7-for-11 from the field and held a 20-14 lead at the 14:00 mark.

    Penn State was held without a field goal for the final 10:09 of the first half after Ben Luber's 3-pointer pulled the Lions to 22-19. The Lions managed only nine made free throws and the Gophers closed the half on a 17-7 run to lead 41-28 at halftime.

    "They are well coached and they play with a lot of energy," DeChellis said of the Gophers. "That's a completely different team than last year."

    In more ways than one.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 62 83
    FG Made-Attempted 18-52 (.346) 29-63 (.460)
    3P Made-Attempted 6-22 (.273) 9-23 (.391)
    FT Made-Attempted 20-28 (.714) 16-20 (.800)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (0/0) 19 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 0 29

    2004-05 Season

    » Jan 8, 2005 @MINN 83, PSU 62Recap
    Mar 2, 2005 MINN 73, @PSU 69Recap