Skip to main content

Willis, Battle lead Gophers to road victory over Wolverines

The Gophers' duo gave Ben Johnson his first Big Ten victory.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

The Minnesota Gophers got off to a 7-1 start this season but most fans want to know if they're for real. If Saturday's trip to Michigan was any indication, the answer is yes.

Jamison Battle and Payton Willis erupted in the second half to lead the Gophers to a 75-65 victory over the Wolverines and help Ben Johnson earn his first Big Ten victory.

The Gophers went blow-for-blow with the Wolverines in the first half and their effort was led by E.J. Stephens. The senior put up 11 of his 13 points in the first half but it wasn't enough to counter Michigan star Hunter Dickinson.

Dickenson was a force and helped Michigan double up the Gophers on the glass in the first half. With a 7-for-7 performance inside the arc, Dickenson put up 14 points and eight rebounds in the opening half and helped the Wolverines go into halftime with a 36-32 lead.

But the second half belonged to the Gophers, who rode a wave of momentum provided by Willis and Battle.

Willis was held to four points in the second half but dropped 13 in the second half while Battle put up a game-high 27 points. With the senior duo leading the way, Minnesota built a 14-point lead

The Wolverines made a late charge using a 12-2 run to cut the lead down to six points but the Gophers were able to hold Dickenson to five points in the second half and make enough plays down the stretch to come away with Minnesota's first win in Ann Arbor in 10 years.

Minnesota (8-1, 1-1 Big Ten) will head back into non-conference play when they host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Wednesday night.

Next Up


Firefighters respond to smoke-filled cabin to find man asleep inside

A wood stove was determined to be the cause of the smoke.

snow plow msp airport

MSP snowplow drivers reach contract agreement after threatening strike

Teamsters Local 320 reached an agreement with the Metropolitan Airports Commission Saturday.

Kellen Moore

What you should know about the Vikings' head coach candidates

Seven candidates were revealed on Saturday morning.

20211010_Vikings_Lions_REG05_1119 (2)

What is the next Minnesota Vikings GM inheriting?

A look at the strengths and weaknesses of the Vikings' roster and situation


Man dies after being 'punched in the head' during altercation in Duluth

A 46-year-old man is in custody and facing 1st-degree manslaughter charges.

Deion Sanders

Deion Sanders says Zimmer, Spielman hadn't spoken 'in months'

Sanders' comments revealed some of the Vikings' issues last season.

police tape, crime scene

Brooklyn Park man pleads guilty in 2020 fatal drive-by shooting

Devon Manley will be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years.

Screen Shot 2020-06-16 at 7.48.35 AM

Man gets 10 years for fatal pawn shop fire during Minneapolis riots

The incident, which took place during riots in May 2020,  resulted in one man's death.

Rep. Ilhan Omar

Election officials dismiss conservative group's complaint against Rep. Ilhan Omar

The group alleged that she used campaign funds on her future husband's consulting firm.

Screen Shot 2022-01-15 at 9.53.04 AM

Reports: 6 names surface in Vikings' search for new head coach

Six names have surfaced Saturday in the Minnesota Vikings' hunt for a new head coach.


Payton Willis / Gopher Basketball

Gophers improve to 5-0 with win over Jacksonville

The Gophers are establishing momentum early in the season.

Payton Willis / Gopher Basketball

Gophers commit 27 turnovers, beat Texas A&M-Corpus Christi anyway

The Gophers countered with some hot shooting to come away with the victory.

E.J. Stephens

Michigan State denies Gophers' upset bid

Joey Hauser's last-second lay-up handed Minnesota its fourth straight loss.

Gopher Basketball

Illinois bullies Gophers in return to Big Ten play

The Illini revealed a major flaw in Minnesota's 76-53 loss.

Gopher Basketball / R.J. Stephens

Late-tip in helps Gophers pass first big test, improve to 6-0

Luke Loewe's bucket with 2.4 seconds remaining helped the Gophers stay undefeated.

Payton Willis / Gopher Basketball

Gophers improve to 7-0 on Willis' late 3-pointer

The Gophers earned back-to-back road victories for the first time since January 2017.

Jamison Battle / Gopher Basketball

Battle-tested Gophers prevail over UW-Green Bay

Jamison Battle helped Minnesota overcome a sluggish start.

Gopher Basketball

Michigan State hands Gophers first loss

The 19th ranked Spartans knocked Minnesota from the ranks of the unbeaten.