Big finish lifts Minnesota past Kansas City in Johnson debut

Nov 9, 2021, 5:53 AM | Updated: 7:55 pm
Kansas City forward Jack Chapman, center, battles for the ball with Minnesota forwards Jamison Batt...

Kansas City forward Jack Chapman, center, battles for the ball with Minnesota forwards Jamison Battle (10) and Charlie Daniels, right, in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)

(AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)

              Kansas City guard Evan Gilyard II (1) drives on Minnesota guard Luke Loewe (12) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)
            
              Minnesota's first-year head coach Ben Johnson yells in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas City, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)
            
              Kansas City forward Josiah Allick (20) shoots past Minnesota forward Jamison Battle (10) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)
            
              Kansas City forward Jack Chapman, center, battles for the ball with Minnesota forwards Jamison Battle (10) and Charlie Daniels, right, in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Jamison Battle scored 18 points, Minnesota allowed just four points over the final seven minutes and the Golden Gophers defeated Kansas City 71-56 on Monday night in the season opener for both teams.

The win came in coach Ben Johnson’s debut with the Gophers.

Minnesota led 46-35 with 13:17 remaining in the second half but the Roos went on a 17-8 run to draw within 54-52 with 7:42 remaining. Luke Loewe and EJ Stephens combined to score the game’s next 10 points for Minnesota and the Gophers led 64-52 with 3:44 to go. Kansas City’s scoring drought lasted until Evan Gilyard II scored on a fast break at the 1:52 mark.

Stephens finished with 13 points, as did Payton Willis in his return to Minnesota after spending last season at the College of Charleston. Willis, who played for the Gophers in 2019-20, went 3 for 6 from 3-point range. Battle, Loewe, Stephens and Willis are four of 10 transfers that Johnson added to a roster that has only two returners from last season.

Josiah Allick led Kansas City with 21 points. Gilyard added 12 points and Marvin Nesbitt Jr. 11.

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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Big finish lifts Minnesota past Kansas City in Johnson debut