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Men’s basketball falls to UNLV in SoCal Championship

The Gophers traveled to southern California to compete in the SoCal Challenge and came up just short of the championship title.
Forward Jamison Battle dribbles down the court in a game against the University of Wisconsin on Feb. 23, 2022 at Williams Arena in Minneapolis, Minn.

Nov. 21 vs. California Baptist

The Gophers bested the Lancers 62-61 in their first ever match against the California Baptist Star Lancers on Monday.

The Gophers received some reinforcements, as preseason All Big-Ten select Jamison Battle made his season debut after missing the early portion of the season recovering from foot surgery.

Minnesota started the game with an impressive 15-0 run, forcing California Baptist to miss its first nine field goal attempts of the game.

The Gophers never once trailed in regulation, but Cal Baptist did not go away. Star Lancers guard Taran Armstrong took over the game in the second half, scoring all 24 of his points, coming back from a 13-point deficit and forcing an overtime period.

In a thrilling finish, Gophers forward Dawson Garcia hit a 5-foot lefty runner in the lane with 6.8 seconds remaining to fend off a late rally, resulting in a 62-61 overtime win.

True freshman Pharrel Payne proved himself as a force to be reckoned with in game one, recording his first career double-double with team high totals of fifteen points and thirteen rebounds.

Minnesota outrebounded the Lancers 40-35, including nine offensive rebounds and a 10-3 edge in second-chance points.

With the 62-61 win, Minnesota clinched a place in the SoCal Challenge championship game. The Gophers would face a challenging non-conference test Wednesday night when they competed against the winner of the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) and Southern Illinois game.

Nov. 23 vs. UNLV

After UNLV got past Southern Illinois, they moved on to compete against the Gophers in the SoCal Challenge final game.

Minnesota struggled out of the gate, falling behind 10-3 and making only one of its first eight field goals.

The Gophers responded with a 9-3 run, cutting the deficit to one at 16-15. A few moments later a three-point play by Battle gave Minnesota its first lead of the night at 20-19 with 7:47 left to go in the first half.

The Runnin’ Rebels answered, outscoring the Gophers 19-4 to take a strong 38-24 lead at the end of the first half.

The second half opened up wth Battle draining a three and Garcia throwing up a layup to get the first point of the half on the board for Minnesota. UNLV’s lead was cut to 38-29.

The Runnin’ Rebels responded once again with an impressive 16-5 run, opening the game up at 54-34.

During the final 6:42 of the game, Minnesota outscored UNLV 19-7 to cut the deficit to nine, but it was not enough time to walk away with the win. UNLV ultimately came away with the win 71-62.

Minnesota’s next game will be Monday at 6 p.m. in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, in a tough road matchup.

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