Banks Shines as the Lions Pass Minnesota, 86-77

Banks Shines as the Lions Pass Minnesota, 86-77

Penn State basketball celebrated its 20th season of operation in the Bryce Jordan Center Tuesday night as the Nittany Lions passed the Minnesota Golden Gophers 86-77. The matchup against Minnesota was the same as it was 20 years ago on January 11th, 1996, with Penn State coming out on top. The win was the first Big Ten Conference victory of the 2015-2016 campaign and the earliest Big Ten win for the program since the 2011-2012 season.

Sophomore forward Payton Banks was the hero for the Lions as he had a 24-point game while notching five assists with sophomore guard Shep Garner adding 20 points and senior forward Brandon Taylor chipping in with 18 points and six rebounds.

In the first half, the game went back and forth between each side with each team trading baskets from the field and beyond the arc. Minnesota shot 58% from the beyond the arc in the first half, draining seven three pointers, but thanks to a sequence of plays, Penn State went into halftime trailing by just four points.

The second half saw an intense shooting battle by both sides and the Golden Gophers jumped to a 49-41 lead. With help from freshman Josh Reaves, Penn State was able to rally back and eventually tie up the game. From there, Penn State went on an impressive run, outscoring the Golden Gophers and with the clock winding down, and ended the game with their largest lead of nine.

Head Coach Patrick Chambers was pleased to see his team finish team the game strong.

''It was like deja vu,'' Chambers said. ''They hit a few 3s on us and we kind of get deflated a little bit. Well, that's the game today. We can't worry about it and gotta move on. It was just nice to see us finish a game.''

The Nittany Lions get the rest of the week off to recover then head back on the court Sunday, Jan. 10th as they host Tom Izzo and No. 5 Michigan State at noon. The game will be aired on the Big Ten Network.