The University of Minnesota, Morris men faced Mayville State for the second time this season Tuesday night, but this time the Cougars were unable to make a comeback falling to the Comets 73-62.
The Comets took the lead early with an 18-4 run through eight and a half minutes. Both teams played sloppy in the first half, committing several turnovers back to back.
After the slow start by the Cougars, head coach Paul Grove tried to slow down Mayville in the paint by switching to a 2-3 zone. From that point the Cougars started to claw their way back into the game with a 10-2 run to bring the score to 27-22 with three minutes remaining in the first half. A short Comet run to end the half increased that lead to 10 at halftime.
Eric Dalbey scored seven of his team-high 13 in the first half, while first-year guard Derek Schmidt grabbed seven first-half rebounds. He would have nine for the game.
The Cougars and Comets went shot for shot for the first few minutes of the second half until a nifty pass from sophomore Kyle Bruns to a back door cutting Dalbey started a run for the Cougars. On the next possession, Schmidt converted a three-point play to cut the Comet lead to 42-37.
The Comets ran their lead to 20 points when Grove cleared the bench to give his younger players some court time. The young Cougars took advantage of the opportunity by chipping away at the Comets' lead.
Defensive breakdowns and cold three-point shooting by the Cougars (3 of 14) made the difference.
Mayville had 17 steals on the night, while the Cougars committed 22 turnovers.
The Cougars host two conference opponents this weekend with Bethany Lutheran on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Martin Luther College at 5 p.m. on Saturday.