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Crown upsets Cougars

Neil Helgeson makes a move around Crown defender to go up for a shot in UMAC semifinal action Thursday night in Morris with Brendon Foss in position for the rebound.

UMM Sports Information

The University of Minnesota, Morris Cougars (16-10) fell 97-95 in the UMAC Semifinals to Crown College (12-14) on Thursday. Brendon Foss became the seventh player in school history to reach 1,000 career points as he finished with 19 points in the contest against Crown.

Minnesota Morris had five scorers reach double figures. Neil Helgeson had a team high 26 points off the bench. Evan Reller and Foss each had double-doubles in their final game. Foss had 10 rebounds to go along with his 19 points. Reller had 16 points and 11 rebounds for his double-double. RJ Dean added 11 points and Cody Emrick had 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

The Cougars got off to a 6-0 start in a very frantic opening two minutes of play. The pace remained high throughout the contest. Morris clasped onto the lead for a majority of the opening ten minutes, holding a 26-17 lead with 6:48 left in the half.

The lead grew as large as ten in the first half with Morris leading 34-24. Crown worked its way back into the game, finishing the half on a 10-2 run.

Crown, especially Bryce Williams, were hot out of the halftime break. Minnesota Morris held a 44-38 lead with 17:29 left despite his quick start. Williams, who had just four points in the first half, continued to hit from the field. He scored the first 17 points for Crown in the second half. The Cougars stayed with Crown throughout the stretch and were tied at 51 with 14:16 left.

The hot shooting spread throughout the Storm and they ended up with a seven point lead with less than 12 minutes to play. Morris countered with a 9-0 run and took the lead back. Crown grabbed the lead right back and pushed their lead to 11 with 2:15 left in the game.

It looked as Crown would run away with the game at that point, but Morris fought back down the stretch. Trailing by ten with under a minute to play, Helgeson converted a four point play, cutting the lead to six. The Cougars ended up cutting the lead to two, 95-93, with seven seconds left.

Crown hit a pair of free throws, but again the Cougars cut the lead back to just two with four seconds left. Crown missed both free throws, but with just .2 second left the Cougars need a full court heave and tip in to extend the game. Unfortunately that effort came up short as the Cougars dropped the game 97-95.

Free throws proved to be a talking point in the game. Crown went 20-24 from the line whereas the Cougars hit just 11-21. Morris held a big 36-7 advantage in bench points, thanks in large part to Helgeson's 26. John Haseman added six bench points and Joe Ruggenbuck had four. Second chance points kept UMM in the game as well, they had 25 second chance points and Crown had just six.

Brooke Kern

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