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The Minnesota Golden Gophers were without Payton Willis on Saturday afternoon but Luke Loewe was one of several players to step up in a 77-60 victory over the Northwestern Wildcats.

Things didn't look good when Willis was placed into COVID-19 protocols before the game. With the Gophers' second-leading scorer (15.6 ppg) out of the lineup, Minnesota appeared to be an easy target for the Wildcats but made up for it with a scorching shooting performance.

The Gophers relied on Jamison Battle and their leading scorer did not disappoint. The senior scored 21 points to go with 14 rebounds and five assists to help Minnesota race out to an early lead.

Minnesota also got double-digit performances from E.J. Stephens and Sean Sutherlin. With Stephens scoring 15 points with eight rebounds and Sutherlin adding 11 points with six rebounds, five assists and four steals, the Gophers built a 16-point advantage going into halftime.

But this afternoon belonged to Loewe. The senior knocked down six 3-pointers on the way to a career-high 24 points and seven assists to make sure the game didn't slip away.

Loewe's hot hand helped Minnesota shoot 55.8 percent from the field and 11-for-23 (47.8 percent) from 3-point range. It was a remarkable performance for a team that had shot 31 percent from the floor in losses to Penn State and Ohio State earlier this week.

Minnesota improved to 13-12 (4-12 Big Ten) with the victory and will host No. 15 Wisconsin on Wednesday night.

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