After a two-week break, the University of Minnesota, Morris men's basketball team returned to action with a 78-71 loss to Valley City State on Monday.
Hot shooting from senior guard Kendall Proell, including five three-pointers, could not warm the rest of the team at W.E. Osmon Fieldhouse.
The Vikings, on the other hand, were warmed up after having played two days previous.
"You always dread that first game after [semester] break, and it showed up in our shooting," said head coach Paul Grove afterwards.
Despite the 33 percent shooting on the night, the Cougars challenged the Vikings all night keeping them within 10 points for most of the first half and closing that gap to one at halftime, 33-32.
In the second half, the Vikings' athleticism and size in the paint helped them build a small lead. VCSU posts Chris Fuqua, Mark Klingberg and Tyler Macomber combined for 52 points.
Still, the Cougars challenged, aided by sophomore Zach Meyer's 10 points and Derek Schmidt's 12 rebounds.
Morris cut the Viking lead to four with under a minute to play, but missed free throws for the Cougars prevented them from coming closer.
Proell finished the game with 24 points, followed by 10 apiece from Meyer and Schmidt.
Schmidt's 12 rebounds were a team high, while Meyer recorded six boards.
Meyer and Eric Dalbey recorded four assists apiece.
The Vikings outrebounded the Cougars 39-34.
The Cougars hit eight of 18 from beyond the three-point arc. At the free-throw line, the Cougars were 18-of-21.
The Cougars fall to 3-7 on the season. This weekend they move into serious conference play with games against St. Scholastica and Northland College on the road.