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Cougar men hold off Presentation comeback

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MORRIS - After seeing a second-half lead slip away, the University of Minnesota, Morris men's basketball team put the breaks on a potential Presentation comeback and pulled away late for an 81-71 win on Jim Gremmels Court Tuesday, Jan. 31.

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The Cougars were able to turn the tables on the Saints from their first meeting of the season, as it was Presentation who held on late for a win, holding off a late Morris rally to escape with a win in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) opener.

The Cougars led by as much as 11 in the second half, but the Saints went on a 14-3 run to tie the game at 56-56 with 8:12 left to play.

After seeing the score fall back to even, the Cougars clamped down and were able to maintain at least a slim lead, never trailing over the next five minutes. Then with 3:34 left, Derek Schmidt hit his final two free throws to give the Cougars a five-point cushion, and on the next possession Ben Hoidal started a 9-0 Cougar run to put the game away.

In the second half, Morris shot nearly 60 percent (14-of-24) from the field, led by 10 points in the half from Schmidt who finished with a season-high 18, hitting the mark for the fourth time. The Cougars' leading scorer, Schmidt went a pedestrian 2-of-3 from the floor in the second half, but made his mark with a 6-of-7 half at the free-throw line.

As a team, the Cougars had easily their best night from the charity stripe, finishing with an 86 percent (25-of-29) tally, which included a 10-of-11 count in the first half.

Led by 11 first-half points from Hoidal, the Cougars were able to take a 37-30 lead into the halftime locker room. He went on to finish with a career-high 17, including a 4-of-5 night at the line. Logan Orazem finished a perfect 6-of-6 at the free-throw line, on his way to 10 points, while adding five rebounds, a team-high five assists, one block and one steal

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