U ends 12-game dropping streak with Battle’s buzzer-beater vs. Rutgers

Just a few hours after dealing with questions on Gophers girls’s basketball coach Lindsay Whalen’s abrupt resignation, U athletics director Mark Coyle took his regular seat a couple of rows behind the bench for Thursday’s males’s basketball sport at Williams Arena.

Coyle, a daily at dwelling video games, listened at postgame information conferences all season as second-year Gophers coach Ben Johnson talked about accidents and inexperience contributing to the U’s longest dropping streak in seven years.

The Gophers might have give up whereas down 10 factors with barely greater than a minute left, however they ended their 12-game slide with a buzzer-beating three-pointer from Jamison Battle in a 75-74 victory over Rutgers on the Barn.

“This was a [tough] day,” Coyle stated after the sport. “But nice win.”

The Gophers (8-20, 2-16 Big Ten) noticed Battle rating 15 of his 20 factors within the second half on 5-for-9 capturing from past the arc. Three of his six three-pointers got here within the last 22 seconds, together with one which secured the crew’s first Big Ten dwelling win this season.

“Life generally is not at all times honest,” Johnson stated. “But it doesn’t suggest you possibly can cease. … That’s an instance for all of our guys that they wanted to simply hold exhibiting up. If you retain exhibiting up, you by no means know what can occur.”

Following Caleb McConnell’s missed free throw with 5 seconds to play, Ta’Lon Cooper rolled the ball up the ground earlier than choosing it as much as begin the clock for one final play. Cooper drove the lane and kicked the ball out to Battle. The junior ahead made a step-back transfer to free himself from Rutgers’ Cam Spencer earlier than nailing the clutch jumper.

Officials spent over 10 minutes after time expired attempting to determine if Cooper’s leg touched the ball that might’ve began the clock earlier. Fans erupted when the ready sport was over. Bucket good.

“It was one thing you dream about,” Battle stated. “I believe it is simply in line with all of the work we have put in, that I’ve put in. It’s only a reward of that work. It feels good.”

The Gophers crew that suffered a 90-55 loss Feb. 1 in Piscataway, N.J., was a lot completely different from the one which confirmed up Thursday. Fans noticed glimpses of the crew’s potential.

The early spotlight of the evening got here when Dawson Garcia related with Pharrel Payne for an alley-oop dunk within the first half. Garcia and Payne, who mixed for 34 factors and 17 rebounds, appeared like Johnson’s frontcourt of the longer term, particularly with star recruit Dennis Evans launched from his letter of intent lately.

“We present up day by day, we struggle day by day,” Garcia stated. “To see it repay dwell is a superb feeling. We’re going to really feel that much more.”

In the second half, Rutgers outscored the Gophers 10-3 to take a 50-36 lead on a reverse layup from Cliff Omoruyi, who completed with a team-high 23 factors and 11 rebounds. The Gophers gave up 17 second-chance factors on 15 offensive boards.

With three minutes left, Braeden Carrington limped off the ground after Omoruyi dunked following one other offensive board by the Scarlet Knights. He watched from the bench as his teammates continued to struggle.

Whalen despatched Johnson a textual content message after the sport to congratulate him on the last-second victory. “She confirmed up day by day to work,” Johnson stated. “She’s some of the optimistic folks.”

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