The University of Minnesota, Morris men's basketball team opened the conference schedule with an 86-62 win over Crown Tuesday at home.
Steve Birman came up one point short of his career high in the Cougars' Upper Midwest Athletic Conference opener. Three other Cougars scored in double figures including Tyler Pendleton, R.J. Dean, and Jeremy Burns. UMM shot 53.1 percent from the field and 61.1 percent from three-point range.
Pendleton had a game-high 14 points off the bench. Dean added 13 points and a career-high seven assists. Burns had a season-high 10 points in eight minutes off the bench, hitting 4-of-5 from the field.
The first nine minutes were a back-and-forth game, as both teams were hot in the early going. Birman had 10 points in the first four minutes of the half. The game was tied at 22 with just over 11 minutes to play in the half when the Cougars put some separation between them and the Storm with an 8-0 run taking a 30-22 lead. Crown pulled within three at 33-30 with under six minutes to play, but UMM went on another 8-0 run taking a 41-30 lead. Dean had four of the eight points during the run. Logan Orazem hit a three pointer as time expired in the first half to give the Cougars a 47-33 lead, their largest lead of the half.
Minnesota Morris extended the lead to 25 out of the break thanks to a 15-4 run to start the half. Morris would never let the Storm get any closer than 19 as the Cougars picked up the 86-60 win.
UMM will be on the road this weekend as they take on St. Scholastica Friday at 5:30 p.m. and Ashland at 3 p.m. on Saturday