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Cougars drop home game to Mayville State

The University of Minnesota, Morris men's basketball team dropped a 79-71 decision to Mayville State Friday, Dec. 10 and they were done in by just one bad 1:22 stretch.

In an otherwise even game, UMM suffered a 12-0 run midway through the second half, that would go on to become the difference.

A pair of Tom Barrett free throws at the 9:39 mark gave the Cougars a one-point lead at 56-55, and capped UMM's own run, as they quickly erased a six-point Comet lead.

From there, though, Mayville State took over and scored 12 straight, forcing three Cougar turnovers in the process. After starting the run with a pair of free throws, the Comets hit four straight field goals, including back-to-back three pointers to cap it off.

The Comets finished the night shooting 51 percent from the field, putting up 61 shots in the process. They were led by a pair of big shooters as Shavontae Samuels scored a game-high 33, and Ross Aman added 21.

The Cougars were led by Steve Birman with 24. Fourteen of his points came in the first half, where three different times he hit the tying or go-ahead shot for the Cougars.  The game saw the score tied eight times and the lead change hands 13 times.

The Cougars shot 43 percent (24-of-56) from the floor, their best mark since their game with Mayville State 10 days ago. From the free-throw line, the Cougars put up their best numbers of the season, finishing at 90 percent, while making 18-of-20 attempts.

The Cougars have now lost six straight, but three of the last four have been by eight points or less, and in each of those three they had a lead in the second half.

They led in the final 10 minutes and got back within four with 2:34 to go after a pair of Zach Meyer free throws. The UMAC leader in shooting percentage, Meyer went 3-of-6 from the floor and 5-of-6 at the line on his way to 11 points.

The only two players in double-figures, Meyer and Birman, were nearly joined by Daniel Fragodt who finished with nine points, as well as a team-high five rebounds.

Returning to action was senior Eric Dalbey, who had missed the entire season while recovering from off-season surgery. Dalbey finished with five points and three rebounds in his 21 minutes of action off the bench.

The Cougars get one last chance to get back on track before the semester break takes them into 2011. On Dec. 17, UMM returns to Jim Gremmels Court to host Valley City State in a 7:30 p.m. match-up.

It will also be Maroon & Gold Night on the 17th, meaning anyone wearing anything maroon and gold gets free admission. The Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) will be collecting non-perishable food donations. All food donated to SAAC will go to support the local food shelf, and anyone who brings food to donate will receive a ticket for free popcorn at the game.