46th Meeting (30-15 all time)
Road Record vs. Penn State: 10-10
Gophers All-Time vs. Big Ten: 790-905
* – excludes vacated games

• Minnesota returns to road action when it travels to Penn State, Saturday, Jan. 27 5:30 p.m. CT. The game will also be televised on Big Ten Network and KFAN 100.3 FM through Gopher Radio Network. The game marks PSU’s annual THON Game. The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, or THON, is a year-long effort which raises funds and awareness for the fight against childhood cancer.
• Minnesota is 30-15 all time against the Nittany Lions and visiting the Bryce Jordan Center for the first time since the 2021-22 season. Minnesota played PSU just once last season, which resulted in a 76-69 loss on Feb. 18, 2023 at Williams Arena. Minnesota’s last time at Penn State was Feb. 17, 2022, where the Gophers fell, 67-46. Minnesota looks to snap a three-game skid to PSU and its first win at BJC since 2018.
• Minnesota is coming off a 61-59 home loss to No. 13 Wisconsin. Although the Gophers fell to the Badgers, Minnesota held Wisconsin to its lowest field goal percentage in Big Ten play and under 70 points for the first time in league action. Minnesota was led in scoring by Elijah Hawkins, who returned from an ankle injury, and scored 16 points, followed by Dawson Garcia, who had 10.
• Elijah Hawkins tops the nation in assists per game (7.8) and ranks second nationally in total assists at 141. The junior transfer from Howard has had two double-double point/assist games. Hawkins also had four-straight games in which he had double-digit points, including two against Big Ten opponents. He also ranks fourth in the Big Ten and 34th nationally in assist/turnover ratio at 2.88. Hawkins also has 37 steals on the season, which ranks third in the league and 60th nationally.
• Dawson Garcia ranks seventh in the Big Ten in scoring this season, averaging 17.3 ppg. Of the six individuals ahead of him, five are guards. Garcia also ranks ninth in the Big Ten in rebounding (7.25 rbg). Garcia has had two 30-point games in Big Ten play and has scored double-digit points in seven of eight Big Ten games. The only game in which he has not scored double-digits was against Nebraska (Dec. 6), where he left the game due to an ankle injury.

• Elijah Hawkins had 16 points and nine assists, Dawson Garcia added 10 points, and Pharrel Payne had nine points and a team-high seven rebounds, but Minnesota (12-7, 3-5 Big Ten) fell just short of upsetting No. 13/10 Wisconsin (15-4, 7-1 B1G) at Williams Arena. The Gophers, who trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half, mounted a furious second-half rally and led late in the game, but the Badgers held on for a 61-59 win.
• Hawkins fueled the Gophers’ comeback, as he made 3-of-4 three-pointers and scored 13 of his 16 points after the break. Minnesota led 57-55 with 1:51 left, but the Badgers closed the game with a 6-2 run to sneak out the win, its seventh-straight in the series, with the last five all being by six points or less.

• Penn State is 9-10 on the season and 3-5 in league action. It will be PSU’s first action since Jan. 20, when it lost at Ohio State, 79-67. The Nittany Lions are 9-2 at Bryce Jordan Center this year, including a win over ranked Wisconsin, Jan. 16, 87-83.
• Penn State is under the direction of Mike Rhoades, who came to Happy Valley after a six-year stint at VCU. Penn State lost all five of its starters from a year ago. Kanye Clary averages a team-best 18.8 ppg, followed by Ace Baldwin, Jr., who averages 13. Qudus Wahab averages 8.1 rebounds, 8.9 points and has 26 blocks. Clary ranks fifth in the Big Ten in scoring, while Ace Baldwin Jr. leads the league in steals (54) and steals per game (2.8). His steals per game ranks sixth nationally. Wahab ranks sixth league wide in rebounds per game.
• As a team, Penn State is averaging 76.4 points and allowing 74.3. They are shooting 43.4 from the field, including a 31.1 percent mark beyond the arc. PSU averages 32.4 rebounds, shoot 74 percent from the charity stripe and hold an impressive 170 steals this season.

Gopher forward Parker Fox of Mahtomedi spoke with MNN sports director Mike Grimm:

(info courtesy of Gopher Sports)

(photo credits:  Brad Rempel, Gopher Sports)

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