The University of Minnesota, Morris men's basketball lost a tough game Friday, dropping a 74-66 decision to Crown on Jim Gremmels Court.
One of the top three-point shooting teams in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference, Crown looked every bit the part, shooting nearly 40 percent (11-of-28) from behind the arc in taking the victory. That, coupled with 32 Storm points off Cougar turnovers, spelled the difference in a game that saw five different lead changes and six tie scores.
Morris falls back below the .500 mark in UMAC play, and misses out on an opportunity to secure a conference tournament berth, sitting just a game ahead of the Storm instead of going up by three games. The Cougars remain in fourth place in the league standings, and just need to take care of their own business over the final games to lock up a berth.
The Cougars were led by Derek Schmidt with 15 points, while Brendon Foss just missed out on a double double with 13 points and nine rebounds.
A back-and-forth first half saw the Cougars holding a three-point lead at the midway point at 19-16 after a pair of Kyle Bruns free throws.
The next time down the floor, however, the Storm's Taylor Jones hit the first of three straight three pointers with the third giving his team a 25-20 lead that they would never lose. Two free throws from Schmidt brought the Cougars within three at 36-33 with a minute and a half left, but the Storm hit the final basket of the half to take a 38-33 lead into the locker room.
Fifteen first-half Morris turnovers turned into 20 Crown points as the Cougars went into the break trailing.
The Storm opened their lead up to as much as 11 early in the second, before the Cougars began to chip away. At the 12:16 mark two more Schmidt free throws capped a 13-3 Morris run and brought them within one at 49-48, but that was as close as they would get. Schmidt finished 5-of-5 at the line.
Four minutes later, Crown was back up by double digits, where they would stay for much of the rest of the game