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Cougars rally past Rams, fall to Eagles

Dylan Erickson works through an offensive play against Northwestern on Saturday, Jan. 7 in Morris. Erickson had eight points in the Cougar loss. (Brooke Kern / Morris Sun Tribune)

The University of Minnesota, Morris men went 1-1 in basketball action this past weekend to close out the six-game homestand 4-2. The Cougars defeated North Central Friday night before falling to Northwestern, who is undefeated in UMAC play so far this season.

RELATED: UMM drops tight 2017 opener, college men's basketball, UM-Morris athletics

The Cougars are 8-5 overall with a 4-2 UMAC record. The 4-2 conference record is the same at Bethany Lutheran and St. Scholastica. All three sit in a three-way tie for second place in the UMAC standings behind 9-4 overall Northwestern.

UM-Morris 87, North Central 79

After suffering their first home loss of the season Tuesday, Jan. 3 against Presentation, the Cougars bounced back nicely with an 87-79 win over North Central Friday, Jan. 6 in UMAC play at Jim Gremmels court in Morris.

CD Douglas was a rebound and assist shy of a triple-double against North Central. (Brooke Kern / Morris Sun Tribune)Early in the season, Tyler Ukkelberg gained the team's lone triple-double of the season in a win at Presentation. Friday night, backcourt mate CD Douglas nearly posted one of his own as he was only one rebound and one assist shy of achieving the feat. He led the team with 24 points. On the defensive end, he made eight steals.

After spotting the Rams the game's first four points, the Cougars went on a 13-2 spurt to take an early nine-point edge. The lead reached double-digits for the first time following a Noah Grove three with 6:47 left in the half and got to as high as 19 following a Grove lay-in that made it 36-17. Minnesota Morris held North Central to 30 percent shooting in the first half as the Cougars would take a 14-point into halftime.

The second half was a different story though as both teams made more shots than they missed. The Rams shot 56.7 percent in the second frame to close the halftime gap. North Central used a 13-2 run to trim the deficit to one at 55-54 with 9:29 left in the game.

John Haseman comes down with a rebound for UMM against Northwestern. (Brooke Kern / Morris Sun Tribune)Douglas started a run that would help get the Cougars advantage back up to double figures. His back-to-back layups made it 59-54. Later, a pair of Jeremy Halverson threes ended a 15-5 run that gave Minnesota Morris a 70-59 lead with 5:49 remaining.

The Cougars shot 56.3 percent in the second half and would not be seriously threatened again in the second half.

Grove scored 15 points and pulled down eight rebounds. Ukkelberg also grabbed eight boards to go along with 14 points.

Northwestern 69, UM-Morris 51

Minnesota Morris was unable to hand Northwestern its first conference loss as the Eagles topped the Cougars 69-51 Saturday, Jan. 7 in UMAC basketball action in Morris.

Northwestern forced Minnesota Morris to a season-low 34 percent shooting from the floor and held the Cougars to nearly 39 points below their season-scoring average.

Tyler Ukkelberg in action against Northwestern Saturday afternoon. (Brooke Kern / Morris Sun Tribune)Down early, the Cougars used an 8-0 run to tie the game at 15 following a Tyler Ukkelberg lay-in. Shortly thereafter, Jeremy Halverson's three gave the Cougars their first lead at 18-17. That lead was short-lived as the Eagles countered with a 10-0 run to go back up by nine. The Eagles took a 35-22 lead going into the locker room.

Northwestern got its lead up to 22 in the second half. Back-to-back threes from Noah Grove helped cut the deficit to 12 at 55-43 with 8:12 remaining, but that was all the closer the Cougars would get.

CD Douglas led all scorers with 21 points. Defensively, Halverson blocked four shots and had four steals.

Minnesota Morris hits the road Friday and Saturday as the Cougars face UW-Superior and St. Scholastica, respectively. The Cougars are back home hosting three games coming up. UMM will take on Northland on Friday, Jan. 20, Finlandia on Saturday, Jan. 21, and Mayville State on Monday, Jan. 23.

MEN'S BASKETBALL PLAYER OF THE WEEK

CD DouglasCD Douglas, Jr., Minnesota Morris

Marshall, Minn./Marshall

- Tallied over 20 points in both UMAC games for Minnesota Morris

- Scored 24 points and added nine rebounds, nine assists and eight steals in win over North Central

- Averaged 19 ppg and 55 percent from the field in a three-game span last week

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