Parker Fox finally got to start for the team he grew up watching, so he was ready to play with his best effort on Gophers men's basketball's Senior Day.

After the sixth-year forward from Mahtomedi missed back-to-back seasons because of knee injuries, Fox knew this likely was one of his last two home games.

When the rest of the Gophers finally matched Fox's sense of urgency, they rallied back from a 23-point deficit to pull out a 75-70 victory over Penn State on Saturday in front of a season-best announced crowd of 11,318 at Williams Arena.

"Being able to have that perseverance and come together is something we need to embrace," said Fox, who finished with 11 points, six rebounds and four blocks. "We need to bottle that up and know we can be in every single game."

The Gophers (18-11, 9-9 Big Ten) won their fifth consecutive home game, but they did it after trailing 41-18 in the first half. They outscored the Nittany Lions 57-29 in the last 24 minutes for the largest comeback in any Big Ten game since 2021.

Big Ten men's basketball standings

Cam Christie had 19 points, including 13 in the second half. Elijah Hawkins finished with 18 points and eight assists. Mike Mitchell Jr. added all of his 11 points in the second half and a career-high five steals.

Four days after scoring the most points in a regulation loss in nearly 60 years in a 105-97 loss at Illinois, the Gophers had to rely on their defense first to bounce back from a bad start. They held Penn State to 38% shooting in the second half.

"The first 20 minutes was just flat for whatever reason," Gophers coach Ben Johnson said. "We had been there before, so I don't think there was any panic. When we got to halftime we had to regroup with urgency, especially on the defensive end."

The Nittany Lions (14-16, 8-11) upset Maryland and Indiana on the road this year, and they were clearly motivated to avenge an 83-74 home loss on Jan. 27. Puff Johnson had 14 of his 19 points in the first half.

Fox had a team-high seven points in the first half, to go with five rebounds and four blocks to help the Gophers get within 42-30 at halftime.

BOXSCORE: Gophers 75, Penn State 70

Around the nine-minute mark, Fox's layup capped a 10-0 run to make it 53-51 in the second half. That basket was set up by Hawkins, who picked up his 208th assist to break the team's single-season record.

Playing an even bigger role defensively with Braeden Carrington out due to a concussion, Christie also made clutch plays offensively late. His tough floater in the lane followed by a three put the Gophers up 62-58 with 3:50 to play.

Penn State answered with five points from Johnson and Ace Baldwin to pull ahead 63-62, but the Nittany Lions had already lost the momentum. Four free throws from Christie and Hawkins during a 7-0 run sealed the victory for the Gophers, who shot 24-for-27 at the foul line.

The Gophers, who have their final home game Wednesday vs. Indiana, had blown 20-point leads before. They also were second-half warriors in erasing double-digit deficits in victories over Nebraska, Maryland, Northwestern and Penn State.

Fox was honored with seniors Jack Wilson, Will Ramberg and Jackson Purcell after the game. But he clearly wanted to make sure that moment celebrating with his family, fans and teammates was not spoiled by an ugly loss.

"We want to build this thing," Fox said. "We want to continue to progress this program where every single one of us wants this program to be."