Cougar men move up to second place in UMAC
The University of Minnesota, Morris men's basketball team topped St. Scholastica to take sole possession of second place in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference Friday. The Cougars then improved to 7-3 in the conference with a win over Northland College Saturday.
The Cougars return to action this weekend when they go on the road to face Martin Luther Friday and Bethany Saturday in another set of conference games.
St. Scholastica 57
After a week off from play, the Cougars defeated St. Scholastica 71-57 Friday at the P.E. Center in Morris.
When the two teams met on Jan. 9, the Cougars were plagued by cold shooting and the Saints prevailed 63-53 in Duluth, giving the Cougars their first conference loss of the season.
Early in the game, the Saints beat the Cougars on the boards to maintain a small lead. Sophomore Kyle Bruns off the bench helped the Cougars stay close with 4-for-4 shooting in the first half.
The Cougars pulled ahead at the seven-minute mark with a couple buckets by Phil Allen and a pair of threes from Eric Dalbey.
An old fashioned three point play from Bruns gave UMM a 32-27 halftime lead.
Bruns led the scoring charge for the Cougars with 11 points, adding three free throws to go along with his perfect shooting inside. Derek Schmidt and Dalbey each contributed six points. Kendall Proell dished out six assists and made four steals.
Leading 46-41 after the first 10 minutes of the second half, the Cougars went on a 17-3 run fueled by four Dalbey three pointers and a three-point play by Schmidt.
Dalbey led all scorers on the night with 25 points including seven three pointers. Bruns had 16 points and six rebounds. Proell finished the game with a season-high 12 assists.
Northland College 57
On Saturday afternoon, the Cougars squared off against the Northland College Lumberjacks and won 64-57.
The Cougars forced the Lumberjacks into many turnovers by playing pressure defense, taking a 27-19 lead going into halftime.
The Cougars played a clean first half, keeping the Saints from attempting any free throws for the entire half and holding the Lumberjacks' top three scorers to 4-of-17 shooting.
Dalbey led the Cougar charge at halftime with eight points followed by Proell who chipped in seven.
Coming out of the locker room, Northland went on a 13-2 run to tie the game up at 32 at the 14:17 mark.
The aggressive play by Northland led to early foul trouble for many Lumberjack players and nearly 15 minutes of bonus free throws for the Cougars.
Good three-point shooting by the Lumberjacks gave them a four-point lead at the 10:43 mark, but two nice shots and a pair of free throws, all by Derek Schmidt, and the Cougars were back on top 40-38.
Missed free throws by the Cougars down the stretch proved to be crucial as the Lumberjacks took a one-point lead with only 18 seconds remaining.
Bruns got an offensive rebound and was fouled with two seconds remaining and made one of two to send the game into overtime.
In overtime, both teams exchanged buckets before Proell made a layup then fellow senior Joey Fragodt hit a huge three pointer to give the Cougars some breathing room at 59-55.
Then clutch free-throw shooting by Bruns and Dan Fragodt gave the Cougars the final 64-57 lead.
Bruns scored 13 points, including five-for-six free-throw shooting in overtime, while pulling down nine boards and dishing out a team-high five assists.
Proell also had 13 points and Dalbey, Zach Meyer, and Schmidt all put in 10 points each.