A number of hours after dealing with questions on Gophers ladies’s basketball coach Lindsay Whalen’s abrupt resignation, U athletics director Mark Coyle took his regular seat a number of rows behind the bench for Thursday’s males’s basketball recreation at Williams Area.
Coyle, an everyday 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 shedding streak in seven years.
The Gophers may have stop whereas down 10 factors with 1:04 remaining, 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 mentioned after the sport. “However nice win.”
The Gophers (8-20, 2-16 Large Ten) noticed Battle rating 15 of his 20 factors within the second half on 5-for-9 taking pictures from past the arc. Three of his six three-pointers got here within the closing 22 seconds, together with one which secured the workforce’s first Large Ten dwelling win this season.
“Life typically is not at all times truthful,” Johnson mentioned. “Nevertheless it doesn’t suggest you possibly can cease. … That is an instance for all of our guys that they wanted to only preserve displaying up. When you preserve displaying 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 selecting 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.
Officers spent over 10 minutes after time expired attempting to determine if Cooper’s leg touched the ball that may’ve began the clock earlier. Followers erupted when the ready recreation was over. Bucket good.
“It was one thing you dream about,” Battle mentioned. “I believe it is simply in line with all of the work we have put in, that I’ve put in. It is only a reward of that work. It feels good.”
The Gophers workforce that suffered a 90-55 loss Feb. 1 in Piscataway, N.J., was a lot totally different from the one which confirmed up Thursday. Followers noticed glimpses of the workforce’s potential.
The early spotlight of the night time got here when Dawson Garcia linked with Pharrel Payne for an alley-oop dunk within the first half. Garcia and Payne, who mixed for 34 factors and 17 rebounds, seemed like Johnson’s frontcourt of the long run, particularly with star recruit Dennis Evans launched from his letter of intent lately.
“We present up daily, we battle daily,” Garcia mentioned. “To see it repay reside is a superb feeling. We will really feel that much more.”
Within 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 battle.
Garcia’s spinning layup off the glass made it a six-point recreation with underneath a minute left. Following Rutgers free throws, Battle drilled a fast three-pointer to drag inside 72-67, however he wasn’t completed along with his late-game heroics.
The Gophers trailed 72-64 with 54 seconds left, however Battle’s three ignited an 11-2 run to finish the sport. After Garcia’s missed three with 12 seconds remaining, freshman Jaden Henley scored on a putback to play arrange the chance to win it following the Rutgers missed free throw.
Coyle, who employed each Whalen and Johnson, was requested concerning the state of Gophers males’s basketball throughout Whalen’s information convention Thursday. He mentioned Johnson is aware of the Gophers have to determine “how can we get our basketball packages to compete at a excessive degree.”
The Gophers confirmed at the very least in a single night time that they might win within the Large Ten at dwelling.
Whalen despatched Johnson a textual content message after the sport to congratulate him on the last-second victory. “She confirmed up daily to work,” Johnson mentioned. “She’s one of the vital constructive individuals.”