(Blacksburg, VA)  —  Pharrel Payne and Ta’Lon Cooper lead Minnesota with 13 points each but the Gophers fell to Virginia Tech 67-57 to open the A-C-C/Big Ten Challenge.  Payne was 5-of-8 from the field for his fourth game in double-figures this season, and he led Minnesota with six rebounds and a career-high three blocked shots in 27 minutes. Cooper also recorded his fourth game in double-figures for points and added a team-high five assists, three rebounds, and a season-high four steals for the Gophers. Ola-Joseph scored six points in the final 2:16 to record his second double-digit scoring output this season.  It was the second all-time meeting between Minnesota and Virginia Tech, and the series is tied 1-1. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak in the ACC / Big Ten Challenge for the Gophers, who are 12-12 in the event’s history.

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