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DePaul beats Minnesota, snaps win streak at home

Jan 29, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; DePaul Blue Demons head coach Tony Stubblefield during the first half against the Connecticut Huskies at Wintrust Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

Javan Johnson notched 20 points and Umoja Gibson added 14 points and eight assists as DePaul earned a 69-53 victory over Minnesota in Gavitt Tipoff Games action Monday night in Minneapolis.

Eral Penn delivered 10 points and 14 rebounds while Philmon Gebrewhit added 15 points off the bench as DePaul (3-0) snapped Minnesota’s 16-game winning streak in nonconference home games. The Blue Demons outrebounded the Gophers 48-32, which included 20 offensive boards.

Dawson Garcia paced Minnesota (2-1) with 19 points and six rebounds, but the North Carolina transfer shot 5 of 14 from the field. Pharrel Payne contributed 12 points off the bench on 6-of-6 shooting and Ta’lon Cooper added 10 points and six assists.

Minnesota played without Jamison Battle, a preseason second-team All-Big Ten selection, for the third straight game as he remains week-to-week after undergoing minor foot surgery at the end of October.

Despite allowing six offensive rebounds before the first media timeout, Minnesota took a 16-14 lead on Payne’s dunk with 12:09 left in the first half. DePaul responded by reeling off 10 straight points as the Gophers missed 12 straight shots from the field. Gebrewhit started the Blue Demons’ run with a layup, then Gibson and Penn added four points apiece.

Payne ended Minnesota’s seven-minute drought by turning a Cooper dish into a dunk at 5:08, but Gibson instigated another spree that gave DePaul a 34-22 lead at the break. The Oklahoma grad transfer fed Johnson for a layup, drove on a clearout for another layup and then executed a pick-and-roll for a Penn layup.

Minnesota shot just 26.7 percent from the field in the first half.

Gibson triggered another DePaul run early in the second half as he set up Johnson for a 3-pointer and swiped a pass that he turned into a transition layup. That gave the Blue Demons a 41-25 lead and forced the Gophers to call a timeout with 16:57 left.

DePaul pushed its lead to 49-30 on a Gebrewhit 3-pointer before Minnesota started its push. The Gophers started scrambling defensively, which ramped up the tempo and triggered a 12-2 run capped by Garcia’s 3-pointer with 9:43 to go.

Minnesota got as close as eight on Joshua Ola-Joseph’s putback and had a chance to get closer, but Garcia’s 3-pointer came up short. Gibson grabbed the long rebound and sent it ahead to Da’sean Nelson for a breakaway jam.

–Field Level Media