2nd Meeting In School History
First/Only Meeting: 2011
Gophers All-Time vs. ACC: 38-42
* – excludes vacated games
• The University of Minnesota men’s basketball team competes in its first true road test Monday when it faces Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., as a part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. It marks just the second time in school history the two teams have faced each other and the first time visiting Cassell Coliseum.
• Minnesota garnered a 58-55 win over the Hokies in the only other game between the two schools, dating back to Nov. 30, 2011. Julian Welch made his first career start and led Minnesota with 15 points, including four clutch free throws in the final 20 seconds that turned a 54-53 deficit into the final margin of victory. Rodney Williams was 6-for-7 from the field, finishing with 14 points and a game-high eight rebounds.
• The 2022 season marks the 24th ACC/Big Ten Challenge. ESPN Network is set to televise all 14 games and also streamed on the ESPN app. The Gophers are on the road for this challenge, the third time in the past five years and second-straight. Minnesota has won the past three ACC/Big Ten Challenge contests and is 12-11 overall. The Gophers earned a 54-53 win last season over Pittsburgh when Luke Loewe offered the putback for the win. The Gophers also defeated Boston College in 2020 (85-80 OT win) and Clemson in 2019 (W, 78-60).
• Minnesota went 1-1 in the SoCal Challenge, Nov. 21 & 23 in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. The Gophers earned a 62-61 overtime win against California Baptist when Dawson Garcia added a bucket with 6.8 seconds to go to earn the win. Pharrel Payne also earned his first double double of his Gopher career with 15 points, 13 rebounds. Minnesota advanced to the SoCal Championship division game, but fell to UNLV, 71-62 on Wednesday.
• The SoCal Challenge also marked the return of Preseason All-Big Ten selection Jamison Battle to the Gopher lineup. It was the first pair of games of the season for the junior forward after foot surgery. Last season, Battle averaged a team best 17.5 points and 6.3 rebounds.
ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH
• Virginia Tech improved to 6-1 Friday night when the Hokies defeated Charleston Southern, 69-64 in front of a sold out Cassell Coliseum (8,925). The Minnesota game marks the second Big Ten team the Hokies will face already this season, after they earned a 61-59 win over Penn State.
• Virginia Tech finished the 2021-22 season 23-13 and won the ACC tournament championship last season. Virginia Tech returned six from that squad, while it added nine newcomers. The Hokies have five that average double-digit points in Sean Pedulla (17.1), Grant Basile (14.9), Justyn Mutts (12.0), Darius Maddox (11.3) and Hunter Cattoor (10.3). Mutts also averages 9.2 rebounds.
• As a team, the Hokies are averaging 78.1 ppg, allowing 65.3 ppg, shooting 49.5 percent from the field and 35.7 beyond the arc.
Gopher head coach Ben Johnson spoke with MNN sports director Mike Grimm about the game:
(info and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)