A few hours after facing questions on Gophers women's basketball coach Lindsay Whalen's abrupt resignation, U athletics director Mark Coyle took his normal seat a few rows behind the bench for Thursday's men's basketball game at Williams Arena.

Coyle, a regular at home games, listened at postgame news conferences all season as second-year Gophers coach Ben Johnson talked about injuries and inexperience contributing to the U's longest losing streak in seven years.

The Gophers could have quit while down 10 points with 1:04 remaining, but they ended their 12-game slide with a buzzer-beating three-pointer from Jamison Battle in a 75-74 victory over Rutgers at the Barn.

"This was a [tough] day," Coyle said after the game. "But great win."

The Gophers (8-20, 2-16 Big Ten) saw Battle score 15 of his 20 points in the second half on 5-for-9 shooting from beyond the arc. Three of his six three-pointers came in the final 22 seconds, including one that secured the team's first Big Ten home win this season.

"Life sometimes isn't always fair," Johnson said. "But it doesn't mean you can stop. … That's an example for all of our guys that they needed to just keep showing up. If you keep showing up, you never know what can happen."

Following Caleb McConnell's missed free throw with five seconds to play, Ta'Lon Cooper rolled the ball up the floor before picking it up to start the clock for one last play. Cooper drove the lane and kicked the ball out to Battle. The junior forward made a step-back move to free himself from Rutgers' Cam Spencer before nailing the clutch jumper.

Officials spent over 10 minutes after time expired trying to figure out if Cooper's leg touched the ball that would've started the clock earlier. Fans erupted when the waiting game was over. Bucket good.

"It was something you dream about," Battle said. "I think it's just consistent with all the work we've put in, that I've put in. It's just a reward of that work. It feels good."

The Gophers team that suffered a 90-55 loss Feb. 1 in Piscataway, N.J., was much different from the one that showed up Thursday. Fans saw glimpses of the team's potential.

The early highlight of the night came when Dawson Garcia connected with Pharrel Payne for an alley-oop dunk in the first half. Garcia and Payne, who combined for 34 points and 17 rebounds, looked like Johnson's frontcourt of the future, especially with star recruit Dennis Evans released from his letter of intent recently.

"We show up every day, we fight every day," Garcia said. "To see it pay off live is a great feeling. We're going to feel that a lot more."

In the second half, Rutgers outscored the Gophers 10-3 to take a 50-36 lead on a reverse layup from Cliff Omoruyi, who finished with a team-high 23 points and 11 rebounds. The Gophers gave up 17 second-chance points on 15 offensive boards.

With three minutes left, Braeden Carrington limped off the floor after Omoruyi dunked following another offensive board by the Scarlet Knights. He watched from the bench as his teammates continued to fight.

Garcia's spinning layup off the glass made it a six-point game with under a minute left. Following Rutgers free throws, Battle drilled a quick three-pointer to pull within 72-67, but he wasn't finished with his late-game heroics.

The Gophers trailed 72-64 with 54 seconds left, but Battle's three ignited an 11-2 run to end the game. After Garcia's missed three with 12 seconds remaining, freshman Jaden Henley scored on a putback to play set up the opportunity to win it following the Rutgers missed free throw.

Coyle, who hired both Whalen and Johnson, was asked about the state of Gophers men's basketball during Whalen's news conference Thursday. He said Johnson knows the Gophers have to figure out "how do we get our basketball programs to compete at a high level."

The Gophers showed at least in one night that they could win in the Big Ten at home.

Whalen sent Johnson a text message after the game to congratulate him on the last-second victory. "She showed up every day to work," Johnson said. "She's one of the most positive people."