Cougars host men's UMAC championship Saturday
The University of Minnesota, Morris advances to the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference final with a 68-54 win over Bethany Lutheran Thursday at the P.E. Center.
Meanwhile, St. Scholastica upset Northwestern College 75-71 to give the Cougars home-court advantage for the tournament championship Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m.
The Cougars had defeated Bethany in two blowouts during the regular season, but they knew the Vikings were better than their record indicated. They bounced back from an 0-12 start to post a 9-5 conference record that left them tied with UMM.
Bethany's guard Tommy Saffert, who sparked the team's late-season charge, was named UMAC player of the year this week.
Brothers Joey and Dan Fragodt took charge on the defensive end of the floor, suffocating Saffert and the other Viking guards. Saffert would be held to just three points on 1-of-11 shooting.
Joey Fragodt scored 11 of his team-high 13 points in the first half to give the Cougars a 41-29 lead at halftime.
Senior Phil Allen finished with 12 points on the night and sophomore Zach Meyer chipped in 11.
Although the Vikings never held a lead throughout the game, they made some runs in the second half to close the gap to single digits. Each time the Cougars pushed the lead back, never allowing Bethany to get within a three-basket margin.
The Cougars held a 45-33 advantage on the boards.