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Despite loss to Northwestern, Cougar men still in tournament race

MORRIS - A second-half comeback attempt lost steam late as the University of Minnesota, Morris men's basketball team fell 80-72 to visiting Northwestern Saturday.

Morris fell behind by as much as 12 in the second half, but eventually found itself within four points at 76-72 in the final minute after a Derek Schmidt basket. With the Cougars forced to foul, Northwestern closed the game with four straight free throws to secure the win.

Schmidt finished with a season high 19 on 9-of-14 shooting, including 12 points in the second half. As the Cougars mounted their comeback, they posted a 58 percent (18-of-31) shooting mark from the field, while limiting the Eagles to 47 percent (14-of-30).

The comeback got rolling after the Eagles' Wade Chitwood hit two of his game-high 28 at the 6:35 mark, putting his squad up 11 at 68-57. From there the Cougars went on a 15-8 run, capped by the basket by Schmidt, before the Eagles closed it out.

As has been the case this season, the free-throw line was the Cougars' nemesis once again, as they made just six trips all night, finishing 3-of-6, their lowest output of the season. The Eagles, meanwhile, went 10-of-12 from the stripe on the night.

Schmidt was joined in double figured by Kyle Bruns with 13, Ben Hoidal with 12, and Brendon Foss with 11, giving the Cougars four double-digit scorers for the second time in the week. For Bruns, the mark tied a season high.

With Crown also losing, the Cougars remain a game up in the race for the final spot in the UMAC Tournament, sitting in fourth place. They face a tall task this weekend though, hosting second place St. Scholastica on Jim Gremmels Court on Friday. The Saints will bring a 9-3 UMAC record into the game, and beat the Cougars 77-64 in their first meeting. They will tip-off at 7:30 p.m