Dawson Garcia came up big at the biggest moment Monday.
With five seconds remaining, Garcia’s jumper through contact put the Gophers ahead for good in a 62-61 overtime win over California Baptist on Monday night in the SoCal Challenge in San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
Minnesota (4-1) will play the winner of Southern Illinois vs. UNLV on Wednesday; those two teams tipped off at midnight.
Garcia dealt with foul trouble early Monday, but finished with 10 points on 5 of 10 shooting.
Cal Baptist (3-2) had turned heads with a wire-to-wire win over Washington on Thursday and were a 1 1/2-point favorite.
Minnesota staked a 15-0 in the opening eight minutes as Cal Baptist missed its first nine shots and its best player Taron Armstrong picked up two fouls. He sat for the final 14 minutes of the half.
Armstrong came on strong with 20 points in the second half and overtime, but missed a running layup the would have won the game in the final seconds of regulation. He also missed a last-second shot in overtime.
Jamison Battle made his season debut Monday and didn’t shoot well after missing the first four games of the season. He went 4 for 15 for nine points.
Minnesota led 26-18 at the half, with Pharrel Payne setting the pace with with seven points and seven rebounds. He finished with a team-high 15 points