The University of Minnesota Morris survived a challenge from Oak Hills Christian College on Thursday night to defeat the Wolfpack for the third time in the non-conference portion of the season. The 97-74 win for the Cougars improves them to 4-5 on the year.
After a close opening few minutes, an 8-2 run capped by a KJ Riley three-pointer put Minnesota Morris ahead, 22-14, as the game moved towards 10 minutes remaining in the opening half. Oak Hills Christian refused to go away on its home court, catching fire from long-range in a 12-2 run that started and finished with a triple from Quincy Wilson to take its largest lead, 30-26, over the Cougars.
A three-point play from Maverick Conn brought the score level and Ian Carlin then put the Cougars ahead with back-to-back baskets to make it 36-34. Another three-pointer from Riley in the final seconds gave Minnesota Morris a 39-36 edge at the break.
Dillon Haider was fouled on the opening possession of the second half for Minnesota Morris and knocked down a pair at the stripe, starting a trend that saw the senior finish 12-of-12 at the line in the game. Oak Hills continued to battle and tied the score up at 49-49, only to see Jaret Johnson come down and can a three-pointer to put Minnesota Morris up for good.
With the Cougars up by five at the 13-minute mark, a pair of Conn field goals helped propel UMN Morris on a 6-0 run that made it 68-57. The Wolfpack pulled with six, 75-69, with nine minutes to play, but Haider then drew a fifth foul on Mark Mattiex and Oak Hills began to struggle for offense without one of its main contributors. After Mattiex’s disqualification at the 8:47 mark, the Wolfpack would score just five more points, all of them from the foul line. The Cougars pulled away from there, shooting better than 50 percent from the field in the second half as a team.
Haider finished with 23 points on the night. Johnson had 19 points and eight rebounds, while Carlin added 10 points and nine boards. Will McBee provided 11 points off the bench. Tath Dak handed out seven assists, with James Pendleton dishing out another six.
Minnesota Morris is back in action tomorrow at 7 p.m., heading to Brookings, S.D. to face Division I opponent South Dakota State University.