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Cougars start new year at home

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sports Morris, 56267
Morris Sun Tribune
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Morris Minnesota 607 Pacific Avenue 56267

The Cougar men's and women's basketball teams finally get back to action tonight (Jan. 4), starting off 2012 with a doubleheader against Valley City State, with the women up first at 5:30 p.m., and the men following after at 7:30.

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It will be the first action for either squad in nearly three weeks, as the women last played on Dec. 16, with the men's last game on Dec. 15.

This will be the second meeting between the teams this season, as the Cougars already traveled to face the Vikings with Valley City State recording a pair of wins, 71-63 on the women's side and 78-54 for the men.

The Viking women enter tonight's game with a 10-8 record, compared to a 3-5 mark for the Cougars. The VCSU men are 13-4 on the season - also sitting just outside the NAIA top-25 - and take on a UMM team with a 2-5 record at the break.

Looking at the women's game, the Cougars will be looking to break out of a stretch that includes just one win in their last five outings. It will be Morris' sixth game against NAIA competition, while the Vikings have played four games against NCAA III competition, winning all four to help spur their current five-game winning streak as well as wins in seven of their last eight.  The Cougars got to within two of the Vikings late in the first meeting, after trailing by 10 midway through. Poor shooting from the free-throw line and behind the arc eventually did the Cougars in, as the Vikings were able to pull away. Another key to the game for the Cougars will be on the boards, where Morris pulled down 41 in their latest win, and have hit 38 in each of their three wins.

On the men's side, the Cougars are looking to close out their three-game home stand with a win to give them a 2-1 mark in the stretch. Last season on Jim Gremmels Court, the Cougars scored an 87-76 win to snap a six-game losing skid, seeing four players hit double figures in the process. The 2011-12 Viking squad, however, comes in with wins in each of their last seven games, scoring 78 or more points in six of the wins, including 90 in the last two. When the Cougars are hot, they win, twice shooting better than 52 percent from the floor this season, resulting in each of their wins. They also dominated the boards on Dec. 9, resulting in their most lopsided win of the season.

The much anticipated return to action tips off at 5:30 p.m. tonight, with the Cougars hosting Valley City State on Jim Gremmels Court.

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