Gophers stake big comeback, end 12-game losing streak
Minnesota trailed Rutgers by 10 points with 75 seconds remaining
MINNEAPOLIS — The Gophers men’s basketball team hosted a “Stranger Things” theme night on Thursday, and it ended with a dramatic plot worthy of a Netflix show at Williams Arena.
Minnesota trailed Rutgers by 10 points with 75 seconds remaining, but Jamison Battle made a trio of 3-pointers, including a buzzer-beater to end a 12-game losing streak with a 75-74 win over Rutgers.
It wasn’t science fiction, but the ending grew more odd as officials kept the teams on the court and mulled over the video replay for 10 minutes, much to the dismay of booing fans at The Barn who saw the bucket go in before the clock hit zeros.
While they were straining their 13th straight loss in the face, Minnesota never laid down and never led until the final buzzer. Minnesota (8-20, 2-16) won their first home game of the season and their first overall since Ohio State on Jan. 12. They were 0-18 when trailing at the half before Thursday.
Jamison Battle made two 3-pointers in the final minute to cut Rutgers lead to 73-70 but he missed a third trey that would have tied it. Rutgers then turned the ball over, giving Minnesota more life.
Dawson Garcia missed an open three, but Jaden Henley made a putback. Rutgers was fouled, yet made only one free throw.
Then Battle made a trey at the buzzer and was mobbed by teammates.
Rutgers (18-12, 11-10) have lost five of seven after losing starting forward Mawot Mag to a season-ending knee injury three weeks ago.
Scarlet Knights big man Cliff Omoruyi was a force with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Gophers freshman center Pharrel Payne’s baptism by fire against some difficult post players has continued. But he also got his own, with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Minnesota struggled to contain Cam Spencer as the Rutgers guard missed only one of seven shots to lead the way with 14 points in the first half. He finished with 16.
Braeden Carrington appeared to injure his right foot with three minutes left in the game. On Sunday, he left the Nebraska game after hyperextending his left leg but avoided missing games with injury for a third time this season.
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