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Close game slips away for Cougars in 80-64 loss to Jamestown

A seven-minute stretch in the second half did the University of Minnesota, Morris men's basketball team in Tuesday, as the Cougars saw a one-point game turn into a 20-point spread in an eventual 80-64 loss to visiting Jamestown.

The Cougars led by as much as five midway through the first half, and closed to within one less than three minutes into the second. But right after the Jimmies ran off a 22-1 stretch to put the game away with 10:13 left to play.

Morris finished the night actually outshooting Jamestown 48 to 46 percent, which included a 48 to 41 percent margin in the first half.

The Cougars started strong, riding high on the shoulders of Derek Schmidt who scored each of his team's first eight points as the game sat tied 8-8 five minutes in. After Brendon Foss hit a pair of free throws at the 14:09 mark, the Cougars took their first sustained lead. They would stretch the lead to as much as five at the 10:15 mark, after a Jeremy Burns jumper gave the Cougars a 19-14 advantage.

The Jimmies would not stay down long, though, showing they were worthy of their preseason ranking of No. 22 in the NAIA national polls. Jamestown countered with a 6-0 run, capped by five straight points from Drew Prenier just seconds apart, giving them a lead they would never lose.

Preneir would go on to finish with 17 points, while Schmidt would lead the Cougars with 15. Joining Schmidt with 15 was Zach Meyer, who also pulled down a team-high six rebounds.

After trailing by seven at 38-31 at halftime, the Cougars scored six straight to open the second and get to within one at 38-37, before the Jimmies made their run.

The Cougars were able to cut the deficit to 14 when Foss sent a pass to Meyer who finished under the basket to make the score 67-53 with 5:28 left, but that was as close as they would get. Foss finished tied for the team lead with four assists, after entering game as the Cougars' leading scorer.

The loss is the second straight for the Cougars after opening with a win over North Central a week ago. They will now get a week off to rest before returning to action on Nov. 29 when they travel to Mayville State. They won't return home until Dec. 9 when they host Mayville State in a rematch on Jim Gremmels Court.