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Cougar men snap losing streak

The University of Minnesota, Morris defeated Valley City State University 87-76 Friday, Dec. 17 to end a six-game losing streak.

The majority of the Cougars scored with nine scoring at least one and four finishing in double figures.

Steve Birman continued his dominance of the basketball court with 22 points. He has had at least 18 points in seven of nine games this season and is leading the team with 169 total points and is averaging 18.8 points per game.

Daniel Fragodt had 13 points, which is his second highest scoring game this season. He also scored 15 points at Mayville State on Nov. 30. Fragodt led the team with five assists and five rebounds. Also helping out was Derek Schmidt who had 12 points and Zach Meyer with 11.

The game was very close and physical. The teams combined for 41 fouls (VCSU had 25, UMM had 16). The Cougars' biggest lead of the first half came with 5:04 left when Austin Pinke scored to put UMM up three going into halftime.

The Cougars then took off in the second half. With 17:41 left, the Vikings tied the game up, but after that the Cougars would not look back. UMM never trailed in the second half, and at the 8:41 mark Birman hit a three-pointer to give the Cougars a nine-point lead. After a lay-up by Schmidt with 4:09 remaining, the Cougars' lead was not less than 10 for the rest of the game.

The game was tied only three times and saw only two lead changes. The Cougars capitalized on the Vikings' miscues by scoring 17 points off turnovers. They out-rebounded the Vikings 26-23 which led to 16 second-chance points. The Cougars' bench also played a big role by scoring 27 points.

The Cougars will be off for a couple weeks with their next game being a rematch against Valley City State. The Cougars will kick off 2011 on Jan. 4 in Valley City, N.D. at 7:00 p.m.