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UMM falls on the road, wins at home

The University of Minnesota, Morris men's basketball team split a pair of games with Valley City State and Mayville State.

Valley City 78

UM-Morris 54

A close first half got away from the Cougars in the second Dec. 7, as they fell 78-54 on the road to Valley City State in non-conference action.

Recently it has been the second half where the Cougars make their push, but the Cougars found themselves within one midway through the first before the Vikings turned up the heat to pull away.

Valley City State opened the game on a 8-0 run, keeping the Cougars off the board until the 16:54 mark when Derek Schmidt opened the UMM scoring with a pair of free throws. Morris proceeded to get hot and after an Evan Reller score, found themselves down just one at 15-14 after his bucket at the 11:02 mark.

Undaunted, Valley City State went on their second 8-0 run of the first period, going up 23-14, before Brendon Foss got the Cougars back in the scoring column with 7:41 left to play.

Schmidt, Reller and Foss finished as the Cougars' scoring leaders with 14, nine, and eight points, respectively, each also posting their second highest scoring games of the year.

The Cougars shot an impressive 62 percent (21-of-44) from the field in the first half, but were matched step by step by the Vikings who countered with a 58 percent (15-of-26) mark of their own.

Schmidt and Zach Meyer teamed up to get the Cougars back within five in the first minute of the second, but the Vikings responded to go up by 10 less than two minutes later and would lead by double digits the rest of the way.

The Cougars finished .477 from the field, one of their best marks on the young season, but woes at the free-throw line continued to plague them as they went just 9-of-13 on the night, including a struggle to just get to the line in a 2-of-3 first half.

UM-Morris 84

Mayville State 51

Led by a perfect night from Brendon Foss, the Cougars enacted a little revenge Dec. 9 in scoring their dominating 84-51 victory over visiting Mayville State on Jim Gremmels Court.

In their first meeting with the Comets, the Cougars' second half rally could not overcome a 20-point halftime deficit, as they fell by just a single point in the final seconds.

This time, though, the Cougars shot 60 percent in the first half on their way to a 44-25 lead at the break, finishing with their best shooting night since the season opener at 53 percent. They nearly doubled-up the Comets on the boards with 53 rebounds, their best mark since 54 late in the 2006-07 season and dished out 18 assists while turning the ball over just eight times.

Leading the charge all night long was sophomore Brendon Foss who charted his second career double-double with 20-points and 10 rebounds. And even more impressive was the way he got there, going 6-of-6 from the floor - including 2-of-2 from long range - and 6-of-6 at the free-throw line with five boards on the offensive end and five on defense.

Foss was one of three Cougars in double figures, joined by Derek Schmidt with 14 and Logan Orazem with 11.

The Cougars never trailed and - after a 2-2 score in the first minute - outscored the Comets 21-4 over the next seven minutes to take a 23-6 lead at the 12:27 mark capped by a crowd pleasing dunk from Foss.

They closed the half with back-to-back baskets and took their biggest lead of the half into the locker room at 19-points after going 18-of-30 from the floor, while holding Mayville State to just 10-of-29.

Orazem opened the second half with a three to put Morris up 22, and they would lead by 20 for the bulk of the half. Back-to-back threes from Foss put them up 27 just past the midway point of the half, and Orazem made the spread 30 points for the first time with his free throw with 5:29 left.

Orazem's 11 points were a career high, as were 20 for Foss.