ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Payton Willis collected 29 points and 10 rebounds as Minnesota survived major struggles at the foul line and recorded an 87-80 double-overtime victory over Princeton on Sunday night to win the inaugural Asheville Championship.
Willis helped Minnesota remain unbeaten by scoring 16 points after regulation. After Minnesota blew a four-point lead in the final two minutes of the first overtime, Willis hit a 3-pointer, two layups and two free throws in the second overtime.
Eric Curry's layup snapped a 72-72 tie 36 seconds into the second extra period and Willis hit a 3-pointer for a 77-72 lead with 3:46 remaining. He then hit a pair of layups and two free throws for an 85-78 lead with 37 seconds remaining to essentially seal it.
Jamison Battle added 24 points and 11 rebounds for Minnesota, which shot 54 percent from the field but also missed 14 of 29 free throws and committed 12 of its 14 turnovers after halftime.
Sean Sutherlin added 14 points for the Golden Gophers (3-0), who improved to 20-1 all-time against Ivy League opponents.
Jaelin Llewellyn led Princeton (2-1) with 19 points and his tying layup with six seconds left in the first overtime extended the game. Tosan Evbuomwan added 16 points and Ethan Wright added 14 as Princeton shot 42 percent and barely missed winning an in-season tournament for the first time since claiming the Rainbow Classic in 1998.
Minnesota took its first double-digit lead when Willis converted a 3-point play to make it 45-34 with 16:26 left. Battle's layup made it 56-46 with 7:08 remaining, but Princeton was within 58-55 on a layup by Wright with 3:05 remaining.
Princeton continued to force turnovers and got within 58-57 with 49 seconds left after Wright converted a layup after intercepting a pass by Battle.
After Minnesota called its final timeout, E.J. Stephens split a pair at the line with 30 seconds remaining. Princeton then forged a 59-59 tie on a layup by Llewellyn with 22 seconds remaining. Willis missed a contested layup with two seconds left and the teams headed to overtime.