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Buzzer beater leads to OT loss for Cougar men

MORRIS - Visiting Bethany Lutheran tied the game at the buzzer before handing the University of Minnesota, Morris men's basketball team a 79-75 loss in overtime Friday in Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) play on Jim Gremmels Court.

A full-court pass with just 1.3 seconds left hit off a mess of leaping Cougars and Vikings before being picked up and tossed in on a prayer as the buzzer and backboard lights went off, by Bethany Lutheran's Derek Peterson, forcing the extra session.

Twice in the previous 25 seconds, it looked as if the Cougars had it won, first when Derek Schmidt hit a shot in traffic to go up 67-65 with under 30 seconds to go, and again when Brendon Foss connected from under the basket to give the Cougars a 69-67 lead with just 1.3 to go.

But each bucket came with controversy, first when Schmidt was called for a foul after coming down from his shot, giving the Vikings a pair of free throws to tie it, and then after Foss' make, the officials put 1.3 seconds on the clock after it was initially stopped at 0.6.

The Vikings took advantage and made the most of their opportunities, taking the momentum from their desperation game-tier into overtime where they outscored the Cougars 10-6 to finish off the win.

Bethany Lutheran made five of their eight free-throw attempts in the extra session - compared to just 3-of-5 for Morris - which was a microcosm of the game, as the Vikings made better than 80 percent (22-of-26) of their trips to the line while the Cougars finished under 70 percent.

Foss finished with a game- and career-high 21 (bettering his 20 from earlier this season), leading four different Cougars in double figures, while also pulling down a team-high seven rebounds.

Schmidt finished with 17, going 4-of-5 from the floor and 9-of-11 from the line, with Ben Hoidal and Logan Orazem each adding 10.

Orazem gave the Cougars their biggest lead of the game at 12 points with his three-pointer late in the first that put his squad up 37-25.

The Vikings countered with an 8-0 run to close the half and trail just four at 37-33 heading into the halftime, and had the lead erased by the 17:31 mark of the second.

The win keeps the Vikings as the last unbeaten in UMAC play, and is their first over the Cougars since the 2008 UMAC tournament and first in Morris since the 2006-07 season.

The Cougars shot better from long range (including four threes from Foss and three from Orazem) and out-rebounded the Vikings, but it wasn't enough to offset the disparity at the line, and eliminate the chance for the last-second heroics