By Dave Campbell
AP Sports Writer
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Payton Willis scored a career-high 21 points on 5-for-7 shooting from 3-point range to lead Minnesota’s romp past rival Wisconsin 70-52 on Wednesday night.
Daniel Oturu had 17 points and 14 rebounds, Marcus Carr scored 12 points, and Gabe Kalscheur added 11 points for the Gophers (12-10, 6-6 Big Ten), who led the entire game and posted their largest margin of victory over the Badgers in 26 years.
Nate Reuvers scored 14 points and Micah Potter had 11 points and 15 rebounds off the bench, but the Badgers (13-10, 6-6) had their worst shooting performance of the season at 28.4% — 19 for 67 — despite the return of guard Brad Davison from a one-game suspension.
The Gophers beat Wisconsin at home for the first time in six years. This was their biggest blowout of the Badgers since a 109-78 decision on Feb. 12, 1994, one of the games later vacated by the NCAA for the academic fraud scandal at Minnesota.
The Gophers cooled off a bit after halftime, but the Badgers went into an even bigger funk. Kalscheur and Oturu hit 3-pointers on Minnesota’s first two possessions of the second half, and Wisconsin never came closer than the original 13-point deficit while too often settling for long-range shots. Reuvers received a delay-of-game warning from the officials for punching the ball after picking up his third foul with 16:27 remaining as the deficit reached the 20-point mark.
The Gophers built a 45-32 advantage at the break, their highest halftime score in Big Ten play this season on the strength of a sharpshooting performance that has been missing for them this winter more often than not.