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Cougar men open basketball season 1-0

The University of Minnesota, Morris men's basketball team started their season off with an 87-79 win over North Central Tuesday.

Morris shot better than 57 percent in each half - including a 60 percent clip in the second - while holding North Central to under 46 percent, which included 36 missed shots.

Despite struggling in the first half, the Cougars were able to overcome a seven-point deficit early, going on a 23-12 run to take a lead they would never lose. Jordan Harrell put the Rams up 12-5 with 15:02 left in the first half, but the Cougars were able to battle back with a Jeremy Burns three-pointer at the 13:04 mark to give them their first lead since a free throw in the first minute.

The Rams and Cougars continued to share baskets in the first half, with Morris having no more than a six-point lead before the break.

Coming out of the locker room, the Cougars began to stretch their lead, going on a 10-3 run in the first two minutes. The biggest lead for the Cougars came at the 11:29 mark, when Brodie Raymond hit a three-pointer to put them up 20 at 65-45 at the 11:29 mark.

North Central was down but not out, and chipped away at the Cougar lead, getting to within six points in the final minute left in the game at 83-77 after a pair of free throws. From there, Morris closed the game with four of the final six points to finish with the win.

Brendon Foss led three Cougars in double figures with 16 points, with Ben Hoidal and Derek Schmidt adding 15 and 10, respectively. Schmidt pulled down a game-high seven boards, leading the Cougars to a 39-34 edge in the game.

The Rams were paced by a pair of players with over 20 points with Andrew Berndt and Nathan Roeder scoring 25 and 23, respectively.

The Cougars jump right back into action on Thursday when they travel to Concordia-Moorhead for a 7 p.m. tip-off.