The Big Ten only had one game on Sunday, but it was a notable one between Minnesota and Princeton on a neutral court. It gave the Gophers a shot at the team’s second quality win of the season.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-Minnesota Golden Gophers 87, Princeton Tigers 80 (2OT)
After two wins to open the season, Gopher fans were hoping the team could keep its momentum going with a win over Princeton on Sunday evening. Like Minnesota, the Tigers entered the game at 2-0 and a KenPom ranking around the top 150 nationally. It figured to be a pretty even matchup where a bucket or two would decide the outcome.
Ultimately, things not only came down to the wire, but went to double overtime to get resolved. Fortunately for Gopher fans, Minnesota was eventually able to get the job done in the second overtime, grabbing an 87-80 win. Part of Princeton’s late game struggles were certainly due to the team’s foul issues, which obviously add up in a double overtime game.
The star of the game was Payton Willis. He finished with 29 points and 10 rebounds in an incredible 45 minutes of game time. Jamison Battle also finished with 24 points. Notably, Ben Johnson and his staff leaned heavily on the team’s starting lineup in the win, as ever starter saw at least 33 minutes of action.
Gopher fans have to be pleased with this result. While Minnesota hasn’t played a murderer’s row so far, the team has gone up against two decent opponents and now sits at 3-0 overall. That’s not something everyone would have expected before the season tipped off. And if the team keeps growing against a manageable slate in the coming weeks, Minnesota could be a bit of a sleeper as we enter conference play. Developing the bench will be key.
Minnesota will now get a few days off before returning to action against Purdue Fort Wayne on Friday at home. The Gophers will be solid favorites.