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Everyone remembers upsets throughout the college basketball season when fans storm the court after top-ranked teams lose on the road.

Taking care of business when favored to win at home isn't as exciting, but it's necessary for teams to establish a winning identity.

The Gophers made their fans sweat down the stretch after nearly squandering a 17-point lead late Sunday, but they did what good teams do — held on for the 81-70 victory over Rutgers in front of an announced 9,680 at Williams Arena.

"To come home and take care of business means we can get it rolling now in the last half of the season," said Pharrel Payne, who led five Gophers in double figures with a career-high 21 points and 11 rebounds.

The Gophers (16-9, 7-7 Big Ten) bounced back from a two-game road slide at Iowa and Purdue with their third consecutive home victory.

"If you can steal a couple on the road and protect home court, you're going to put yourselves in a good position," coach Ben Johnson said. "When you have an opportunity at home because you're playing good enough, you just have to seize the moment. You just have to find a way to win."

Dawson Garcia, who had 14 points, nailed a three-pointer that gave the Gophers a 72-55 lead with 3:38 to play, but they lost the momentum with 11 of their 15 turnovers in the second half. Most of the mistakes were against a full-court press.

Two free throws from Derek Simpson capped an 11-0 Rutgers run to make it 72-66. It was eerily similar to collapses for the Gophers vs. Missouri and at Iowa with 20-point leads, but this wouldn't be a repeat of those debacles.

The Gophers shot 15-for-19 from the foul line in the second half, including eight consecutive free throws to end the game.

"We need this game for a confidence booster for us," said Elijah Hawkins, who had 16 points and seven assists. "We're trying to create another streak and maybe make it longer than it was before."

BOXSCORE: Gophers 81, Rutgers 70

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The Scarlet Knights (14-11, 6-8) entered on a four-game win streak while holding opponents to 57 points per game and 35% shooting, but they gave up their most points Sunday since an 86-63 loss at Illinois on Jan. 21.

The Barn's atmosphere was again electric like it was in victories over Michigan State and Northwestern earlier this month. The Gophers fed off the energy of the crowd Sunday to break a 37-37 tie and open the second half on a 19-7 run after threes from Cam Christie and Hawkins made it 56-44.

The best game of Payne's career previously had been an 18-point performance against Penn State as a freshman last season. The 6-9 Cottage Grove native showed growth at times offensively this year, but Sunday was his breakout game.

Payne fouled out in Thursday's 84-76 loss at No. 2 Purdue. He had 13 points and nine fouls combined in back-to-back losses, including at Iowa when Garcia was sidelined with an injury in the second half.

On Sunday, Payne delivered when the Gophers needed him. He powered his way to a layup off the glass to extend the lead to 64-52 with 6:29 to play. Two minutes later, Payne passed out of the low post to Hawkins for a three to make it a 15-point advantage.

The only blemish for Payne on the night was his 5-for-11 free-throw shooting, but the Gophers overcame that with clutch foul shooting from others late and a strong defensive effort.

Rutgers was held to 25% shooting in the second half, including 1-for-13 from three. Jeremiah Williams, who had been averaging a team-high 14 points in the past four games, was held to nine points on 2-for-10 shooting.