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Cougar men rebound with 79-59 win over Knights

MORRIS - A balanced effort led to a big bounce back victory for the University of Minnesota, Morris men's basketball team Saturday, scoring a 79-59 win over Martin Luther on Jim Gremmels Court in Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) action.

In need of a strong start following their tough overtime loss the night before, the Cougars got just that, ripping off a 7-0 run after the Knights scored the game's first basket, and opening up their lead to double-digits just past the midway point of the half.

They extended their lead to 18, at 32-14 with 5:42 left, on a Ben Hoidal put-back under the basket, capping a 16-4 run.

The Knights made it interesting, though, cutting the Cougars' lead to 10 early in the second half, capping a run that started late in the first.

A night after one slipped away, there would be no such dramatics this evening, as the Cougars wouldn't let the Knights get within single digits in the half, responding with an 11-1 run to take a 48-29 lead following an Evan Reller free throw.

With 15 minutes left to play, the Cougars were in cruise control, leading by 20 nearly the entire way out.

Reller finished with his first career double-double, scoring 11 points along with a career-high 13 rebounds.

The Cougars outscored their opponent by 20 for just the second time, getting contributions from throughout the line-up.

For the third time this season - and second game in a row - Brendon Foss led the way, scoring a game-high 17, while also pulling down seven rebounds.

For the first time this season, the Cougars had two players finish with double-doubles, as Reller was joined by Derek Schmidt who pitched in 10 and 10. Kyle Bruns also added eight boards as the Cougars tied their season-high mark of 53, more than double that of the Knights.

The win gets the Cougars back on track after their disappointing result against Bethany Lutheran, and keeps them two-games back in the early conference race. The Cougars' two losses have come by a combined seven points.

They take a quick break from UMAC play on Tuesday (Jan. 24), traveling to Trinity Bible for a 7:30 p.m. match-up, before closing out the first half of league play on the road at Northland and St. Scholastica on Jan. 27 and 28, respectively