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Cougar men hold Knights to only 39 points

Led by its defense, the University of Minnesota, Morris men's basketball team won its second straight Friday scoring a 56-39 win over host Martin Luther.

Needing a win to further separate from the pack in the race for an Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) tournament berth, Morris did just that, moving two games ahead of the teams behind them. While also moving a game closer to St. Scholastica in second, as the Saints lost.

The Cougars allowed the fewest points ever under head coach Paul Grove with 39. The winless Knights didn't get to double digits until there were just two and a half minutes left in the first half, after the Cougars held them scoreless for nearly eight full minutes.

Morris led 22-16 at the break and quickly went up by 10 points in the second after a pair of Brendon Foss free throws made it 29-19 at the 18:17 mark.

Foss finished as the game's high scorer with 15 points. He was joined by Derek Schmidt who finished with his third double double of the season, scoring 14 points to go along with 10 rebounds.

After getting ahead by 10, the Cougars saw the Knights mount a comeback to get within two still early in the half. With 14:17 left, Foss answered with a score under the basket to put Morris back up four, and just a minute later Logan Orazem hit a three to put the Cougars up seven at 38-31.

The next score was a three from Brodie Raymond, and the Cougars would lead by at least eight the rest of the way.

The Cougar defense held the Knights to just 32 percent (18-of-57) shooting from the field, and a mere 2-of-9 from three-point range. They also pulled down 51 rebounds and forced Martin Luther into 18 turnovers, turning them into 12 points.

Only six different Knights scored, and only three had more than two points.