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Willis, Battle lead Gophers to road victory over Wolverines

The Gophers' duo gave Ben Johnson his first Big Ten victory.
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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.

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