Gophers season ends with opening Big Ten Tourney loss vs. Penn State

Jalen Pickett hit three 3-pointers on his way to 22 points and Penn State defeated Minnesota 60-51 in the first round of the Big Ten Conference tournament on Wednesday night.

Jamison Battle scored eight points to help 14th-seeded Minnesota take a 28-24 lead at halftime.

Penn State (13-16), the 11th seed, took its first lead of the second half at 33-32 on a 3-pointer by Seth Lundy with 16:32 remaining. Battle sank two free throws to get the Golden Gophers within 51-47 with 6:39 left, but Pickett answered with a 3-pointer.

Eric Curry had a rebound basket to cut Minnesota’s deficit to five with 4:13 to go, but John Harrar had a layup, Pickett hit a jumper and Sam Sessoms made two foul shots in a 6-0 run to wrap up the win for the Nittany Lions.

Sessoms finished with 14 points for PSU, while Lundy scored 11. Harrar had 12 rebounds to go with six points.

Battle topped the Golden Gophers (13-17) with 19 points. Curry, Sean Sutherlin and Payton Willis all scored 10.

Penn State led the Big Ten in scoring defense, yielding 66.2 points per game, and beat Minnesota for the first time in five tries in the conference tourney.

The Nittany Lions advance to play No. 6 seed Ohio State in the quarterfinals on Thursday.