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Payne scores 21, grabs 11 rebounds to lead Minnesota’s 81-70 win over Rutgers

Minnesota’s next game is at home, against Ohio State.
Image by Amaya Battle
Gopher Men’s basketball players Parker Fox and Jack Wilson high-fiving during their game versus Bethune Cookman on Monday Nov. 6, 2023 at the Barn at the University of Minnesota.

Pharrel Payne had 21 points and 11 rebounds, Elijah Hawkins added 16 points and Minnesota defeated Rutgers 81-70 on Sunday night.

The Golden Gophers made 7 of 10 shots to open the second half, including back-to-back 3-pointers by Cam Christie and Hawkins to go ahead 56-44 with a little under 13 minutes remaining. The lead reached 15 when Hawkins hit another 3-pointer with 4 1/2 minutes left and a 3-pointer by Dawson Garcia made it 72-55 a minute later.

Rutgers, which opened the second half with 4-for-22 shooting, made a late rally. Derek Simpson scored seven points and Austin Williams had four in an 11-0 run that made it 72-66 with 2 minutes to go. The Scarlet Knights trailed by seven points after Jeremiah Williams hit a jumper with 1:05 to go.

Mike Mitchell Jr. then went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the final minute to wrap it up for Minnesota. The Golden Gophers made 15 of 19 free throws in the second half and 23 of 34 for the game.

Dawson had 14 points and eight rebounds for the Gophers (16-9, 7-7 Big Ten). Mitchell finished with 12 points and Christie scored 10. Hawkins had seven assists and six rebounds.

Simpson and Clifford Omoruyi led Rutgers (14-11, 6-8) with 19 points each, but the Scarlet Knights’ winning streak ended at four games. Rutgers shot 38.7% for the game but made 18 of 22 free throws.

After trailing for most of the first 9-plus minutes, Rutgers went ahead 23-18 with a 9-0 run that started and ended with 3-pointers by Simpson. The Scarlet Knights led 29-22 near the 6-minute mark of the first half but Minnesota bounced back with a 15-8 surge that included six points from Payne and two free throws by Garcia that tied it at 37 at halftime.

Up next for Minnesota is a home game against Ohio State on Thursday. Rutgers will be at No. 2 Purdue, also on Thursday.

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