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Cougar men avenge loss to Presentation

After playing even in the first half, Cougars connected on 60 percent of their second-half shots to earn an 86-74 win Tuesday over Presentation in Aberdeen, S.D.

The Cougars held a slim lead for nearly the entire first half, as the host Saints stayed within striking distance. With under three minutes left in the period, the Saints had finally taken the lead, though, and were still on top 28-27 with just 1:55 to go.

From there, however, the Cougars scored six straight to close the half, and would not trail again.

Coming out of the break UMM quickly got back to scoring, taking a nine-point lead at the 18:39 mark off a Derek Schmidt jumper, before going up double digits at the 16:19 mark when another Schmidt basket made it 41-30.

Schmidt went on to finish with 14 points, along with nine rebounds and a block in his 21 minutes of work.

After the Saints cut into the lead, a Tom Barrett score at 8:37 put the Cougars back up 11 at 62-51, and they would lead by double digits the rest of the way. Barrett finished as the Cougars' leading scorer with 15.

A pair of Austin Pinke free throws with 3:42 left pushed the lead to its widest margin at 20 points as he gave UMM a 77-57 lead before Presentation closed the gap late.

The Cougars have now won seven of their past eight, dating back to their conference season opening loss to this same Saints squad. Their latest win, combined with a Bethany Lutheran loss, leaves them alone in second place in the UMAC standings, just a game behind Northwestern at 7-1.