Coffey leads Minnesota over Penn State, 77-72 in overtime

Published 7:58 am Friday, March 15, 2019

CHICAGO — Out of sync and struggling for most of the game, Amir Coffey insisted he never really found his rhythm. It was hard to tell the way he dominated at the end.

Coffey scored 10 of his 22 points in the final minute, and Minnesota rallied for a 77-72 overtime victory over Penn State in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday night.

“I still don’t feel like I got anything going,” Coffey said. “They did a great job on the defensive end with ball screens and smash action so it was tough to score on them.”

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But when Minnesota needed him the most, he delivered in a big way.

Coffey put the Golden Gophers (20-12) on top for good 69-66 when he drove for a 3-point play, burying the free throw after he got knocked to the floor by a rotating Josh Reaves.

Lamar Stevens then missed a jumper. Coffey got bumped by Jamari Wheeler in a scramble for a loose ball, resulting in a heated exchange that led to technicals for both players and an ejection of Penn State’s Mike Watkins for leaving the bench.

Coffey then made both free throws to make it 71-66 with 33 seconds left. But Penn State continued to hang in.

It was 75-69 when Myreon Jones banked in a 3 with four seconds left. But Coffey made two free throws to seal the win and set up a matchup with No. 13 Purdue on Friday.

Coffey made only 6 of 17 shots and missed all five 3-pointers. But coach Richard Pitino was confident his leading scorer would snap out of it.