Gophers Beat Jamison Battle’s Buckeyes; Close in on NCAA Tournament Conversation

NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at Minnesota
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Gophers entered their game on Thursday night at Williams Arena vs the Ohio State Buckeyes with a 16-9 (7-7) record and six games remaining on their 2023-24 regular season. We mapped it out earlier this week but their path to the NCAA Tournament had to start tonight with a win vs former Gophers Jamison Battle and his OSU cronies.

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And boy oh boy did those Gophers come to play in front of a damn good crowd at The Barn. Even on a night where freshman phenom Cam Christie went 1-of-6 with just 5 points on the night and Jamison Battle scored 21 in his return to the Barn… this game was never really in doubt. The first half was played pretty close, but the Gophers tightened their grip early in the 2nd half and never looked back.

Minnesota Gophers gain big win vs Ohio State

With Christie struggling, Elijah Hawkins took over as Minnesota’s primary backcourt scorer. The nation’s assist leader put up a career high 24 points to go along with another 7 dimes. Garcia had another big night too, posting a double-double with 20 points and 9 rebounds. Pharrel Payne also added 15 points and 4 rebounds, Mike Mitchell dumped in 8 points and 5 assists.

The Buckeyes fought until the very end and even found a way to close the gap to 7 points with 18 seconds left to play. But when the dust settled, the Gophers closed out an 88-79 victory, their second-straight win, leaving no doubt that this is one of the best Gopher basketball teams we’ve had on campus in years.

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But as the season goes on, the Gophers seem to believe in their talent more and more and their play seems to improved exponentially on a night-in and night-out basis. And right now, they have themselves playing like one of the best basketball teams in the entire Big Ten and March is less than two weeks away…

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