After losing to Presentation College earlier this season, the Minnesota-Morris Cougars were looking for a second chance against the Saints and Tuesday night they got plenty of them.
Morris scored 18 second-chance points to help gain a measure of revenge with an 86-74 Upper Midwest Athletic Conference men's college basketball victory at the Strode Center.
“We should do that with our size. We're a big team in the UMAC,” said Morris coach Paul Grove. “We should be hitting the boards hard. We should be crashing the offensive glass, especially. Tonight we did that. The energy was part of it. The fact that they beat us earlier was part of it.”
The Cougars corralled 17 offensive caroms, many of which were turned into points. PC coach Jeremy Reigle said his team's initial defensive effort was solid, but it was the extra opportunities that proved to be the difference.
“I thought we did well defensively the first time and then it was the second time around that hurt us,” Reigle said. “That was a big key to it.”
Morris also caused the Saints trouble with its full-court pressure defense. While that defensive intensity resulted in 17 PC turnovers, it also gave the Cougars the energy they needed on the offensive end.
“We picked up the pressure early. I think that got our energy going,” Grove said. “When we don't play well, our guys try to get going on offense. We play much better when we get going defensively. We just thought the full-court pressure might just get the energy up.”
The Cougars pulled away from a five-point halftime lead by pounding the ball inside. Once the lead swelled to double digits early in the second half, the visitors bombed away from the perimeter with four straight three-pointers to stay in control. The Saints were never able to get the margin under 10 points in the final 10 minutes of the contest.
“They did a nice job of getting to the basket,” Reigle said. “A lot of those ball screens, we didn't hedge out well enough and cut off their drives. They played a nice game.”
Grove said he did not have to motivate his team after it lost at home to the Saints to start the UMAC campaign.
“That's not how we wanted to start the conference season, but they really played well that night,” Grove pointed out. “You don't have to say much before a game like this.”
Reserve Tom Barrett scored 15 points to lead four players in double figures for Morris, 11-9 on the season and 7-2 in the UMAC.
Channing Coffey finished with game-high totals of 21 points and 13 rebounds to lead Presentation. Michael Babcock followed with 14 points and Logan Diede contributed 13.
However, PC's offense was never able to find a steady rhythm throughout the contest.
“We didn't get a whole lot of good movement on offense,” Reigle noted. “We looked kind of tired. We just didn't have a whole lot of energy.”
The Saints, 5-15 overall and 2-7 in the conference, round out the home portion of their schedule by hosting Bethany Lutheran at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Martin Luther at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Reigle said his team still has plenty to play for.
“We're not out of the race by any means,” Reigle said. “If we get two wins here at home, that would be huge.”
MINNESOTA-MORRIS (11-9, 7-2): Kyle Bruns 3-7 1-3 7, Daniel Fragodt 2-4 0-2 4, Eric Dalbey 4-6 3-3 13, Steve Birman 5-11 2-2 13, Derek Schmidt 6-10 2-6 14, Austin Pinke 1-2 2-2 5, Logan Orazem 0-0 1-2 1, Ben Hoidal 1-5 4-5 7, Charlie Warnes 0-1 0-0 0, Tom Barrett 6-9 0-0 15, Ben Lindberg 0-1 0-0 0, Brendan Foss 0-1 0-0 0, Zach Meyer 1-6 3-6 5, Evan Reller 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 30-65 18-31 86.
PRESENTATION COLLEGE (5-15, 2-7): Logan Diede 5-9 3-3 13, Channing Coffey 7-23 2-2 21, Josh Muellner 6-9 3-4 15, Michael Babcock 4-10 2-4 14, Shane Cunningham 1-2 0-0 3, Montae Brown 0-0 0-0 0, Tyler Marks 0-0 0-0 0, Jevon Glassnor 2-5 2-3 6, Michael Gjernes 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 26-62 12-16 74.
Halftime score - Morris 33-28. 3-point field goals - Morris 8-14 (Dalbey 2-4, Birman 1-2, Pinke 1-1, Hoidal 1-3, Barrett 3-4); Presentation 10-26 (Diede 0-2, Coffey 5-10, Babcock 4-8, Cunningham 1-2, Glassnor 0-2, Gjernes 0-2). Fouled out - Muellner. Total fouls - Morris 17; Presentation 21. Rebounds - Morris 44 (Schmidt 9); Presentation 38 (Coffey 13). Turnovers - Morris 12; Presentation 17. Assists - Morris 14 (Birman 5); Presentation 13 (Cunningham 4). Blocked Shots - Morris 1; Presentation 7 (Muellner 3). Steals - Morris 8 (Fragodt 4); Presentation 6. Officials - Cody Baxter, Kelly Pfeiffer and Jim Johnston. A-300.