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Penn State holds off Minnesota in battle to stay on tournament bubble

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Talor Battle scored 28 points and hit a 3-pointer in a late 8-0 run that propelled Penn State to a 66-63 win over Minnesota on Thursday night.

David Jackson added 13 points and five rebounds for the Nittany Lions (14-11, 7-7), who kept their NCAA tournament hopes alive.

Penn State led most of the game, and Jackson's 3 with just more than 11 minutes left gave them a 10-point lead.

But Minnesota (17-9, 6-8) slowly chipped away at the deficit, then went up 60-57 on Colton Iverson's dunk with 2:09 left.

The Nittany Lions answered with the 8-0 run including Battle's deep 3 with 1:12 left. They were aided by back-to-back turnovers by the Gophers, and Battle's foul shot with 5 seconds left put Penn State up by three.

Blake Hoffarber led the Gophers with 18 points and Trevor Mbakwe added a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Minnesota struggled offensively early, but shot 56 percent in the second half to stay close. The taller, bigger Gophers played to their strength by being aggressive on the boards, outrebounding Penn State 34-22, including 25-15 on the defensive glass.

But sloppy ball-handling and 13 turnovers hurt Minnesota. After Battle's 3 gave Penn State a 62-60 lead with 1:12 left, Austin Hollins was called for traveling in the backcourt with 37 seconds to go.

Battle hit a free throw for a three-point lead, but Penn State was whistled for a lane violation to give the ball back to Minnesota. The Gophers then gave the ball right back after Hoffarber threw an errant pass with 14 seconds left.

The Nittany Lions scored 17 points off turnovers, while giving the ball up just five times. Battle finished 7 of 14 from 3-point range.