Much of a 13-point halftime lead slipped away when UW-Superior opened the second half on a 14-2 run on Friday night.
MORRIS, Minn.– The University of Minnesota Morris built a comfortable halftime lead on Friday night against the University of Wisconsin-Superior, but saw it slip away in a second-half flurry from the Yellowjackets. After the game tightened, UW-Superior made the plays it needed to down the stretch to come away with an 86-82 win over the Cougars. UMN Morris drops to 8-16 (3-10 UMAC) on the season.
UW-Superior took advantage of a sloppy start to the game from Minnesota Morris to bolt out to a 10-2 lead, capped by a steal and breakaway dunk from Mason Ackley. When the Cougars held onto the ball, they couldn’t miss. UMN Morris began the game 7-of-7 from the field, quickly erasing the early deficit with an 11-0 run to take a 13-10 lead. That scoring burst from the Cougars eventually grew to 25-5 as they built a 27-15 lead on the Yellowjackets midway through the first half.
A four-point play from Dillon Haider put Minnesota Morris ahead, 33-19, but UW-Superior twice pulled within six points later in the first half. It was another run from the Cougars that put them in command at the end of the half. Will McBee and Ian Carlin handled things inside for UMN Morris, combining for the last eight points heading into the break, leading the Cougars to a 48-35 halftime edge.
That 13-point lead disappeared quickly as UW-Superior clamped down on the Cougars and held them scoreless for more than four minutes to start the second half. When the dust settled, a 14-2 run from the Yellowjackets brought them within a point, 50-49. The lead swung back and forth throughout much of the second half and Minnesota Morris was even able to rebuild a five-point lead, 70-65, before UW-Superior reeled off seven in a row to take the lead back.
Corbyn Alexander hit a three-pointer to give UMN Morris its final lead, 73-72, with just under five minutes remaining. The dagger came from UW-Superior though, with J’Vaun Walker hitting a three late in the shot clock to put the Yellowjackets ahead, 81-77, with just over a minute to play. Though the Cougars were able to get within two late in the game, the visitors iced it from the foul line in the final seconds.
Noah Kannegiesser led the Cougars in scoring on the night with 16 points. McBee and Jaret Johnson each added 13. Haider and Alexander had 12, with Alexander notching a double-double thanks to his 11 rebounds.
Minnesota Morris wraps up the regular season tomorrow with Senior Day at Jim Gremmels Court. The Cougars host Northland College starting at 4:45 p.m. The results of tomorrow’s contests around the UMAC will finalize the seedings for the UMAC Tournament, which gets underway on Tuesday night.