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Mustangs defeat Cougar men

The University of Minnesota, Morris men's basketball team was defeated by former conference opponents, Southwest Minnesota State, 82-66 on Thursday, Dec. 17.

The Cougars were coming off two tough, close losses against a pair of non-conference opponents, Jamestown College and Black Hills State.

In the first 10 minutes of the game, both teams shot the ball relatively well. The Cougars were undersized against their Division II foes, but forwards Phil Allen and Zach Meyer were able to fight the Mustang big men off to put up some early buckets and keep the score close.

With seven minutes remaining in the half, both teams started playing a run and gun type of game and neither team seemed to want to slow the pace down. Unfortunately for the Cougars, the shots started falling in the Mustangs' favor, letting them start to pull away.

Then at the 2:34 mark, Clay Fischer knocked down a three pointer to cut down the Mustang lead. Two free throws by Dan Fragodt and the Cougars pulled within five points with 2:13 remaining.

The Mustangs went into the half winning 37-31 thanks to a nice defensive stop with 8 seconds remaining and a pass up the floor for a buzzer beating dunk.

The Cougars were led in scoring by Allen who had eight points on perfect 4-for-4 shooting while Eric Dalbey, Derek Schmidt and Meyer contributed four points each.

The Mustangs used their size to win the rebounding battle 21-13 at the half.

To start the second half, the Cougars' game plan was to get the ball into the post early and often. Allen, Schmidt, and Meyer were all able to convert against the Mustang posts as they led their team in the second half. The Mustangs on the other side were able to use their athleticism to run the floor well and keep a double-digit lead for much of the second half.

For the remainder of the second half, the Mustangs slowly pulled away from the Cougars to cruise to an 82-66 victory.

The Cougars were led by their big man Allen who finished with 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting. Schmidt came off the bench to score 12 points while Meyer finished with nine.

The Cougar men will have an extended break over Christmas and will return to action when they travel to Valley City, ND on Jan. 4 to take on Valley City State at 7:30 p.m.