The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

March 3, 2013

Penn State can’t keep momentum on road

MINNEAPOLIS — Court storming is all the rage in college basketball this season, and Minnesota and Penn State both joined the party this week with huge wins over opponents with lofty rankings.

Only one of them was able to carry over that momentum into the next game.

Trevor Mbakwe had 13 points and 13 rebounds and Minnesota held Penn State scoreless for the first 11 minutes of the game to cruise to a 73-44 victory on Saturday.

Julian Welch had 10 points and seven assists and Rodney Williams had 10 points and seven rebounds for the Golden Gophers (20-9, 8-8 Big Ten), who regained their waning confidence in a big week in which they also toppled No. 1 Indiana at home.

“We can go real far,” Mbakwe said. “Final Four or bust.”

OK then.

D.J. Newbill scored 15 points for Penn State (9-19, 1-15) but made just 2 of 16 field goals, and the Lions weren’t able to sneak up on Minnesota like they did No. 4 Michigan earlier this week. They trailed 16-0 before getting their first basket of the game with 8:42 to go in the half.  

Joe Coleman scored 12 points and Andre Hollins had 11 for Minnesota, which held Penn State to 27 percent shooting.

“We felt like we were really confident enough to come in here and steal one on the road,” Newbill said. “But you know unfortunately it didn’t work out that way.”

Coach Tubby Smith started all four seniors on Senior Day. Rodney Williams and Mbakwe have been linchpins in this Gophers season while Welch and Andre Ingram have been relatively minor role players on Minnesota’s beleaguered bench.

After not playing at all against Indiana – his first DNP of the season – Welch hit his first two shots of the game and the offensively limited Ingram hit a soft baseline jumper for a 7-0 lead, and the Gophers were off and running. Even though it came against woeful Penn State, the dominating victory was an encouraging sign for a team that has gone through wild swings from high to low this season.

The Gophers started the season with 15 wins in 16 games, rising as high as No. 8 in The Associated Press Top 25. Then they lost eight of 11 games, including embarrassing performances at Iowa and Ohio State, to tumble out of the rankings and leave some doubt about their NCAA tournament bid. Their card was in all likelihood punched with a dramatic victory over the Hoosiers on Tuesday night, which followed losses at Iowa and Ohio State by a total of 47 points.

“Since those losses we really sort of recommitted ourselves to playing better,” Smith said. “And it shows in our performance.”

Sparked by their two seldom-used seniors, the Gophers laid it on Penn State on both ends of the floor. They forced four turnovers and pounded the Lions on the boards in the first 10 minutes and Maverick Ahanmisi hit a 3-pointer for a 16-0 lead. Williams finished the first half with a monstrous alley-oop dunk on a poorly thrown lob pass from Welch, giving Minnesota a 34-12 lead at the break.

“We’ve always believed we can beat anybody,” Williams said. “It’s up to us. We just have to come out and play with the fight and intensity we did these last two games and we can play with anybody in the country.”

Three days ago, Jermaine Marshall and the Lions were swarmed by their giddy home fans, who stormed the court after Penn State beat Michigan 84-78. They hit 10 3-pointers in the game to wipe out a 15-point deficit and snap an 18-game losing streak in the Big Ten.

“That definitely caught our attention,” Williams said.

There would be no comeback this time. The Lions missed their first 11 shots, went 3 for 14 from 3-point range and were beaten 46-30 on the glass. Marshall finished with 10 points, the only other Penn State player in double figures.

“Senior night, they were coming off a very emotional high,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. “As a coach ... you need to do a better job getting my guys prepared because there were so many exterior factors that went into that game before the game even started. Tried to prevent it. Just couldn’t do it.”

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • racin 0416 Jennerstown Speedway gearing for May open

    Jennerstown Speedway released a very ambitious schedule on its website and continues to prepare for its 2014 reopening.
    The track is set to hold a practice day for drivers as well as an open house and media day on April 26.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘Hawks already building toward next season

    Jason Spence used up his cell phone’s battery on a trip from Johnstown to his parents’ home in Nova Scotia, Canada.
    Once the Johnstown Tomahawks coach got to his destination, Spence had to get creative to secure cell service across the border.

    April 16, 2014

  • Pirates 0416 Dominant Cueto drops Pirates in matinee

    That playoff loss in Pittsburgh last year? Johnny Cueto never thought about it much. So getting a chance to shut out the Pirates in a rematch wasn’t any more special.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0416 Penguins rally to wear out Jackets

    Brandon Sutter scored on a wrist shot from the left circle 8:18 into the third period, helping the Pittsburgh Penguins rally for a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Wednesday night.
    Beau Bennett and Matt Niskanen scored power-play goals 45 seconds apart in the second period, erasing Pittsburgh’s two-goal deficit.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shelley and McElligot Series serves as reunion for former Chiefs personnel

    Not so long ago, Bob McElligott, like most Western Pennsylvania hockey fans, would savor a long Pittsburgh Penguins playoff run.
    The Somerset native followed the Pens’ Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1991 and 1992.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malkin nearing return

    The Columbus Blue Jackets are the closest NHL team to the Pittsburgh Penguins, at least geographically. The two franchises are separated by 185 miles of highway.

    April 15, 2014

  • Reds swing way past Pirates

    Mike Leake doubled and hit a two-run homer Tuesday night, ending Gerrit Cole's winning streak and leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that completed two days full of homers and delays.
    First, the NL Central rivals completed a game that was suspended in the sixth inning because of rain the previous night.

    April 15, 2014

  • Pitt ends its spring practices

    No tailgating.
    No trip to a local high school.

    April 15, 2014

  • Pirates Game 1 0415 Pirates edge out Reds in suspended game

    After all those home runs and an overnight delay, it was settled by a single.
    Andrew McCutchen doubled and came around on Russell Martin’s single in the seventh inning on Tuesday, giving the Pittsburgh Pirates an 8-7 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the completion of a game that spanned two days and 10 home runs.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • track_B1 WestPAC relays go to Windber boys, Berlin girls

    Rain showers and dropping temperatures put a damper on Monday’s WestPAC Relays at Berlin Brothersvalley High School.
    For the Berlin girls and the boys from Windber, however, discomfort was not much of a factor.
    The Mountaineers won their third straight relay title while the Ramblers reclaimed the title from defending champ Shade.

    April 14, 2014 2 Photos

AP Sports Video
Poll

Should the NFL get rid of the extra-point attempt after a touchdown?

Yes
No
     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow