Westbrook, Minnesota beat Penn State, Battle
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Lawrence Westbrook won a terrific duel with Talor Battle, tying his career high with 29 points to lead Minnesota to a 75-70 victory over Penn State on Tuesday night in a Big Ten opener.
Battle had 23 points, six rebounds and four assists for the Nittany Lions (8-5, 0-1) but couldn't quite match Westbrook shot for shot down the stretch.
The senior guard for the Gophers (10-3, 1-0) made 11 of his 16 shots and tied a career high with four 3-pointers. Blake Hoffarber added 11 points.
Andrew Jones had 12 points and eight rebounds for Penn State, and David Jackson added 11 points.
But it came down to a thrilling display of shotmaking from Westbrook and Battle.
The Gophers led by as many as 11 points in the first half as they forced seven turnovers and harassed the Nittany Lions into 36 percent shooting.
Penn State surged out of halftime with a 15-3 run to provide a 42-37 lead in the first five minutes. Battle's 3-pointer gave the Lions a 53-50 lead with under 10 minutes to go, but Westbrook was just getting warmed up.
Westbrook hit three 3-pointers in a span of 2:30 later the second half, the last coming off a screen that bounced off the front iron and went in for a 66-61 lead with 4:22 to go.
The Gophers finished the game with 11 steals and forced 16 turnovers.
Both schools inflated their win totals in the nonconference season by scheduling cupcakes and will need all the wins they can get in conference play to earn a bid to the NCAA tournament.