Gophers basketball to travel to Virginia Tech Nov. 28 for ACC/Big Ten Challenge

Pharrel Payne is one of four incoming freshmen on the University of Minnesota men's basketball team for the 2022-23 season. ((credit: University of Minnesota Athletics))

The University of Minnesota men’s basketball team announced Friday morning it will travel to Virginia Tech on Nov. 28 for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

It’s the second time the Gophers will have faced the Hokies, after Minnesota beat Virginia Tech 58-55 in 2011 at Williams Arena. Virginia Tech is coming off a 23-win season that included a seventh place finish in the ACC in the regular season. The Hokies then made a run to the ACC Tournament championship. Their season ended in a first round NCAA Tournament loss to Texas, and it was their fifth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

The Gophers are 12-11 all-time in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, and have won their last three games in the event. Last year, they got a 54-53 win at Pittsburgh on a Luke Loewe tip-in at the buzzer. It was their first road win since February of 2020. Minnesota also beat Boston College 085-80 at Williams Arena in 2020, and Clemson 78-60 in 2019.

Minnesota is entering its second season under Ben Johnson, after going 13-17 last season. The Gophers bring back leading scorer Jamison Battle and have added transfers Ta’Lon Cooper, Taurus Samuels and former Prior Lake star Dawson Garcia. They’re also bringing in a talented freshmen class that includes Jaden Henley, and Minnesota natives Braeden Carrington, Pharrel Payne and Joshua Ola-Joseph.

Isaiah Ihnen is back from a season-ending knee injury last year, but for the second straight season, Parker Fox will miss the entire year with a right knee injury suffered in practice earlier this week. Fox missed all of last season with a left knee injury.