In their first road test of the Big Ten season, it wasn't pretty, but when it mattered late, Minnesota stepped up and hit their free throws to put away Penn State 68-65.
A back and forth affair in which Minnesota trailed most of the game, Penn State was short-handed late, with their top two scorers D.J. Newbill and Tim Frazier fouling out with less than five minutes to play.
The Gophers took advantage, getting a key steal and layup from Deandre Mathieu with less than two minutes to go and four huge free throws from Malik Smith with less than a half-minute to play to ice the game.
Mathieu led the Gophers with 16 points, while Frazier had 20 for Penn State despite fouling out late. Newbill, averaging 18 points a game entering the contest for the Happy Valley side, was held scoreless.
The Gophers snap their string of eight consecutive road defeats in conference, while the Nittany Lions drop to 9-7 on the year and remain winless in the Big Ten.
Richard Pitino's squad faces a tough test in their next game Saturday, No. 5 Michigan State the opponent in East Lansing.