Men’s Basketball Claims 84-65 Victory over Minnesota on Senior Night
Nittany Lion seniors Buttrick, Harrar and Wheeler combine for 35 points
Credit Source: Penn State University Athletics
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. – The Penn State men’s basketball team (9-13, 6-12) started its five senior Nittany Lions in their final game in the Bryce Jordan Center Wednesday as it claimed an 84-65 victory over Minnesota on senior night. Seniors Trent Buttrick, John Harrar and Jamari Wheeler combined for 41.6 percent of the Nittany Lions’ scoring with 35 points against the Golden Gophers (13-13, 6-13). Junior guard Myreon Jones led Penn State with 17 points.
Prior to Wednesday night’s Big Ten win, Penn State (9-13, 6-12) honored its five senior student-athletes, Buttrick, Harrar, Kyle McCloskey, Taylor Nussbaum and Wheeler, and seven student managers in a Senior Night Ceremony, presented by the Penn State Alumni Association.
“It was great tonight the way our seniors played and how everybody played for the seniors,” said interim head coach Jim Ferry. “I think we looked extremely unselfish, we had 19 assists. (The) guys were really just laying it out for each other. We had a dud the other night against Purdue and we all challenged each other to make sure that’s not how we’re going out. Guys really played hard for each other and you could see the passion, you could see the love. You look at the seniors, Trent Buttrick had an awesome night, John Harrar did it again, a double-double. Jamari was tremendous, Kyle McCloskey was flying around the place. Taylor gave us good minutes…I’m proud of everybody, proud of how we responded, we’ve won two of our last three going on the road now to play a tough Maryland team before the tournament. I think we still have some room to get better, but I really love this group going down the stretch run right now.”
The five senior Nittany Lions started the game and went back into the game to play toward the end of the game. In their four years, the seniors amassed 33 Big Ten wins, tying the record set by the seniors in the class of 2020.
Buttrick, Harrar and Wheeler were three of the five Nittany Lions to finish in double figures in the victory. Buttrick tied his career-high with 13 points, knocking down three triples and Harrar turned in the sixth double-double of his career (12 points, 11 rebounds) to pace the frontcourt and collect his 500th career rebound.
Jones’ 17 points included a key 3-pointer to stem any chance of a Gophers’ rally late in the game.
Minnesota cut the Penn State lead to 11 with 3:51 to play before a Harrar layup pushed the lead back to 13. Jones’ triple extended the lead to 16 and Buttrick threw down an empathic dunk to seal the win.
Penn State was extremely efficient in all aspects of the win, outrebounding Minnesota at a 48-33 clip and snagging 17 offensive rebounds. The Nittany Lions also dished out 19 assists, tying their season best in Big Ten games this season, against only seven turnovers.
Marcus Carr of Minnesota finished as the game’s leading scorer with 22 points. Isaiah Ihnen had a double-double for the Golden Gophers with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The Nittany Lions ended the first half on a furious 16-2 run and had connected on their final nine shots of the stanza. Penn State’s scored 46 points, its highest first-half output of the season, for a 46-28 advantage at the half.
After both teams struggled from the field, combining to go 3-16, Buttrick hit a pair of triples to jumpstart the Nittany Lions’ during a pair of scoring droughts.
With just over five minutes to play in the half, Minnesota cut the Penn State lead to 24-22. The combination of the Nittany Lion offense and defense fueled a 22-6 run and limited Minnesota to two field goals.
The offensive outburst to end the half was started and ended with junior guard Myles Dread. Dread’s layup began the streak of nine-straight makes. In the final seconds of the opening 20 minutes, Dread stripped Marcus Carr and drilled a triple to send the Nittany Lions into the locker room with the 18-point lead.
Penn State completes its regular season with a 7 p.m. game on Sunday, March 7, at Maryland on Big Ten Network.
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