Gophers improve effort but lose at Michigan, fall to 1-7 in Big Ten play

Jamison Battle's jumper with just under 14 minutes left in the first half Sunday gave the Gophers basketball team 14 points. That number was significant because it surpassed the shockingly low point total from its previous game by halftime.

Just when the Gophers thought they got their confidence back offensively they missed 10 straight shots during an eight-minute scoring drought in the first half.

Ben Johnson's team kept battling despite more scoring issues, but the Gophers saw Hunter Dickinson score 15 of his 23 points in the second half in a 60-56 loss in Ann Arbor.

The Gophers (7-11, 1-7) received a scare late in the second half when Dawson Garcia nailed a three-pointer but came down awkwardly with a defender under him.

After limping to the locker room with an apparent ankle injury, the U's leading scorer returned but couldn't carry his team to another road upset.

Garcia, who had 28 points last week in a win at Ohio State, finished with 13 points and four fouls. Jamison Battle bounced back from his scoreless game in Thursday's 61-39 loss against No. 3 Purdue with 14 points. And Ta'Lon Cooper finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, but the U fell to Michigan for the second time this season.

Battle's jumper and assist on a layup from Pharrel Payne capped a 5-0 run to pull the Gophers within 55-51 with 1 minute, 13 seconds left in the game after trailing by nine points.

Following a defensive stop, Cooper seemingly picked up an offensive foul on a charge with 35 seconds remaining, but the officials overturned the call. Cooper then hit the second of two free throws for a 55-52 game.

On the ensuing possession, Michigan's Will Tschetter, a Stewartville, Minn., native, drilled two free throws after an intentional foul to extend it to a five-point margin that the Gophers failed to overcome.

The Gophers led 20-10 after Cooper's layup midway through the first half Sunday, but the edge they were playing with was lost when Dawson Garcia immediately picked up his second foul.

Garcia scored a team-high seven points in only 11 minutes in the first half. The Wolverines (11-8, 5-3) never led in the opening period, but they outscored Minnesota 13-3 in the last 9:05, which included an 8-0 run sparked by Dickinson. Michigan shot 33% in the first half, but it was tied 23-23 at halftime.

The 7-1 Dickinson's size and length made it difficult for the Gophers to have success scoring in the paint for the second straight game. Similar struggles surfaced while Johnson's players tried to attack Purdue's 7-4 Zach Edey in Thursday's abysmal shooting 61-39 loss against No. 3 Purdue.

A big difference from the U's near historically poor offensive performance Thursday was how the Gophers jumped out to an 8-0 start behind three-pointers from Battle and Garcia, who had just seven points combined vs. the Boilermakers.

BOXSCORE: Michigan 60, Gophers 56

Battle entered Sunday's game coming off the worst two-game stretch of his career with a combined eight points on 4-for-20 shooting in losses to Illinois and Purdue at home. The All-Big Ten preseason forward has been hampered with a lingering back injury.

The Gophers won at Michigan last season for Johnson's first Big Ten victory. Despite coming up short with another win in Ann Arbor, Minnesota got back to being competitive.

In Thursday's 61-39 loss against No. 3 Purdue, the Gophers scored their fewest points in a game since 1950-51, but also scored just 12 points in the first half.

In their previous meeting this season, the Wolverines won 90-75 and led by as much as 32 points in the second half at the Barn.

The Star Tribune did not send the writer of this article to the game. This was written using a broadcast, interviews and other material.