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Cougars clinch spot in UMAC men's tournament

MORRIS – The University of Minnesota, Morris men’s basketball team won a fifth straight game, clinching a berth in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference.

The Cougars wrapped up the regular season 14-11 overall and 9-5 in the UMAC.

Minnesota Morris will be the No. 4 seed and take on Northwestern on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in St. Paul.

UM-Morris 76, Bethany 65

The Cougars were 11-of-23 from beyond the arc on Friday night as they picked up a huge 76-65 win over the Bethany Lutheran Vikings.

Five Cougars scored in double figures, led by R.J. Dean who had 14 points.   The other four Cougars in double figures were Logan Orazem (13), Steve Birman (12), Tyler Pendleton (12), and Brendon Foss (11). Foss also added 10 rebounds as he picked up the double double.

Minnesota Morris shot over 50 percent from the field for the fourth straight game and nearly hit that mark again from three-point range. The Cougars proved again why they rank third in the nation in three-point field goal shooting.

Morris struggled in the first half shooting just 36 percent from the field, but still held a five-point lead at the break thanks to four made three pointers and five more made free throws.

The Cougars caught fire in the second half hitting 66.7 percent of their shots and were 7-of-12 from downtown.

Thanks to an 18-5 run from the 12:17 mark to the 3:48 mark, UMM took a 26-16 lead in the first half. BLC cut the lead to five going into the break.

In the second half the Cougars increased the lead to 14 with just over 12 minutes left in the game. The Vikings closed to within four, but back-to-back lay-ups from Foss and Evan Reller put UMM back up by eight. Bethany would never get any closer than six as the Cougars pulled away for the 76-65 win.

UM-Morris 94, Martin Luther 67

The Cougars clinched a spot in the UMAC Tournament on Saturday with a 94-67 win over Martin Luther.

Five Cougars scored in double figures, led by  Foss who had 19 points and nine rebounds on 9-of-13 shooting.

Morris got 38 points from the bench, led by Ben Hoidal who had 16 and Pendleton who had 14 points off the bench.  Dean had 12 points and  Birman had 11 points to round out the five Cougars to score in double figures.

UMM outscored Martin Luther 60-28 in the paint.  

The Cougars jumped out to a 12-4 lead early in the game to put the Knights in a hole. The lead grew to as large as 14 midway through the half at 21-7. Martin Luther cut the lead to five with 1:13 left in the first and the Cougars took a 42-36 lead into the halftime break.  

Birman hit a three pointer and then Foss converted a layup to put the Cougars up 47-36 as the second half began. The Knights never got any closer than seven as the Cougars pulled away midway through the second half. The lead grew to as large as 28 as Foss hit a layup putting UMM up 88-60.