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Cougars improve to 10-6

UMM Sports Information

The University of Minnesota, Morris men took home two road victories in St. Paul this past weekend with wins over Northwestern and North Central in basketball. The Cougars are now 10-6 and leading the UMAC 4-1.

UM-Morris 59, Northwestern 56

The University of Minnesota, Morris used a 10-0 run in the second half to erase an eight point deficit and then hung on late to pick up a 59-56 win over Northwestern. Minnesota Morris shot 41.2 percent from the field in the victory on Friday, Jan. 24.

A quick five point run to start the game gave the Cougars an early lead, capped off by a Brendon Foss dunk. Northwestern clawed back and took a five point lead of their own, 13-8, seven minutes into the game. Minnesota Morris drew within one, but the Eagles went on a 5-0 run, giving them a 24-17 lead with just over seven minutes remaining in the half.

The lead was cut to two on a couple occasions as the half winded down, but the Eagles carried a four point lead into the halftime break thanks to a late basket. Foss had seven first half points to lead the offense. Cody Emrick and John Haseman each added six. Foul trouble was the big story in the first half, Evan Reller and Joe Roggenbuck each picked up three first half fouls.

Northwestern went right on the attack out of the break and jumped out to an eight point lead in the opening four minutes of play. The Cougars came within three, but then the Eagles increased their lead to seven once again before Neil Helgeson completed a three point play cutting the lead to four. Helgeson then connected with a three, cutting the lead to 51-50 with 6:54 left in the game.

The Cougars took the lead a minute later as Reller converted on a layup, then Foss hit a three, extending the lead to four with just over five minutes left in the game. Minnesota Morris held off the Eagles over the next three minutes, but a three pointer with just over a 1:30 left cut the Cougars lead to just one. With less than five seconds left, RJ Dean went to the line and hit both free throws to give UMM a 59-56 lead.

Dean and Foss finished with a team high 12 points on the night. Reller who played just 29 minutes despite foul trouble finished with 12 rebounds. Minnesota Morris' bench outscored the Eagles 19-11 on the night.

UM-Morris 75, North Central 68

It wasn't easy, but the Cougars found a way to pick up win number ten on the season, beating North Central, 75-68. Four Cougars finished in double figures, led by Helgeson who had 16 points off the bench. Dean added 15,Emrick had 14, and Tyler Pendleton had 12.

After falling behind 8-3 in the first four minutes of play the Cougars battled back and took a 9-8 lead on a Foss layup. Dean hit a pair of free throws to extend the Cougars lead to five with 12 minutes remaining in the half. The Rams did their best to keep it close and found a way to take the lead back at 23-21. North Central did a good job to keep the Cougars from regaining the lead for the rest of the half and took a 38-36 lead into the halftime break.

Morris briefly tied the game as the second half started, but the Rams grabbed the lead once again, extending their lead to six at 57-51 with 9:26 left. Foss converted a three point with 4:50 left to tie the game up for the first time since the 17:56 mark of the second half. The two teams traded a pair of three point baskets and the game remained tied with just over three minutes left in the game. The tie was broken when Pendleton hit a three point jumper, giving UMM the 71-68 lead. Reller hit one of two free throws to extend the Cougars lead to four with 38 seconds left in the game.

Minnesota Morris was able to win the game by holding a 25-9 advantage in made free throws which helped them overcome a Rams team that shot 46.6 from the field.

The Cougars will be back at home for five straight games starting next weekend as they host Martin Luther and Bethany Lutheran on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. Then on Tuesday, Feb. 4, the Cougars will host Crown at the P.E. Center.

Brooke Kern

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