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Cougar men open season with close loss to Cobbers

The University of Minnesota, Morris men's basketball team opened the season with a close 78-76 loss at Concordia Moorhead Thursday, Nov. 15.

It was a back-and-forth battle that came down to the final possession.

Steve Birman had 18 points and Evan Reller had a career-high 17 points. Tyler Pendleton and Logan Orazem each had 10 points.

The Cougars and Cobbers each hit over 50 percent from the field as hot shooting was a big part of the second half. The two teams combined for 93 points in the second half after having 61 points combined in the first half.

Aaron Lindahl led the Cobbers with 24 points and Dewon McKenzie had 17 points, including 15 points in the second half.

UMM took the early lead going up 20-14 before the Cobbers climbed back to tie the game at 22. The game went back and forth for the remainder of the first half before the Cobbers' Lindahl hit a three pointer giving them the 31-30 lead before halftime.

The first four minutes of the second half went back and forth as the game was tied at 43. Morris tried to take over going on a 10-0 run taking a 53-43 with 12:54 left. Jordan Gieske had five points and Birman had four during the run. The Cobbers slowly climbed back and tied the game up at 58 with a three pointer with seven minutes left on the clock.

Concordia built up a six-point lead with four minutes left in the game and it was at seven with 3:24 left on the clock. Down by five Reller completed a three-point play to get within two. McKenzie hit a jumper, scoring his eighth point in the last four minutes to put Concordia up 77-73. Pendleton hit a three from the right wing to pull within one with less than 10 seconds left. After the Cobbers hit the front end of a one and one and then missed the next one the Cougars had a shot to tie the game down just two with five seconds left.

The ball was driven to the hole but lost out of bounds with three seconds left. UMM still had possession, but the Cougars were unable to get a shot off as they fell 78-76.