Gophers Resume Big Ten Play with Win Over Wolverines in Ann Arbor

Photo Courtesy of the Michigan Wolverines

It’s been awhile since the Minnesota Gophers men’s basketball team got a signature win, especially on the road. But that changed on Thursday in Ann Arbor, when Ben Johnson’s now 11-3 squad (2-1 in the Big Ten) went onto the University of Michigan campus and beat the Wolverines 73-71 on their home floor.

Sure, this isn’t one of Juwan Howard’s best teams but there’s no weak Big Ten road win. And in reality, the Gophers find themselves in the middle of a weaker than normal Big Ten conference this season. If Minnesota can continually rise to the occasion like they did tonight, they could put a bunch more digits into the 2024 win column before we get to March.

Related: Ben Johnson’s 2023-24 Gophers Defying Odds, Climbing Rankings

Pharrel Payne is Minnesota Gophers MVP in team win

Pharrel Payne is one of the best young big men in the conference and he proved that on Thursday night. Off the bench, the Sophomore out of Cottage Grove, MN went for 12 points, 8 rebounds and 4 huge blocks.

But Thursday’s dub was a team effort, in just about every way. Minnesota won tonight’s game because they played like the ultimate team. Five Gophers scored in double figures and they put up 17 total assists.

Per usual, point guard Elijah Hawkins was the straw that stirred the drink (14 points, 7 assists) and got everybody involved. But Dawson Garcia dumped in 13 points and 12 rebounds, Mike Mitchell hit big outside shouts and finished with 18 points, a team high.

Related: Braeden Carrington Back with Gophers Basketball

Defensively, Minnesota had one of their best performances on the season, holding the Wolverines to just 42.1% from the field, the 3rd worst of their season, including 31.6% from 3PT. And they needed every possession, including the final one, which secured a 2-point Gophers victory.

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