MORRIS - The Martin Luther College women's basketball team fell by the score of 79-62 at Minnesota Morris Friday night in a battle of teams tied for first place in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference.
The two teams came into the game as part of a four-way tie for first in the conference with records of 4-1 in league play.
The Cougars took the lead early on the strength of a 12-0 run during three-minute stretch in the early going that pushed UMM's lead from one to 13 points at 21-8. UMM would continue to possess the lead the rest of the first half on the way to a 42-31 lead heading into the break.
The Knights would hang around for much of the second half, staying within striking distance and cutting the deficit to nine (66-57) with 4:41 to play following an Alyssa Maertz jumper, but the Cougars rattled off seven straight points in the next minute to push their lead back to 16 and put an end to the Knights' comeback hopes.
UMM controlled the glass throughout the game, out-rebounding the Knights 55-30, which led to a 20-7 edge in second chance points. The Cougars also doubled up the Knights in the paint, outscoring MLC 40-20 for the game.
Leah Nass led the Knights with a season-best 22 points, but the Cougars were able to limit the rest of the MLC starting five to seven points on 2-of-16 shooting from the field. Hannah Hackbarth and Mariah Schoof provided offense off the bench for the Knights with 15 and 11 points, respectively, but it wasn't enough to catch the Cougars down the stretch.
MLC fell to 7-9 overall and 4-2 in the UMAC in defeat, while UMM improved to 8-9 on the season and 5-1 in league play.
The Knights will return to action at 3 p.m. Saturday when they travel to Crown College.
MLC men lose to Morris
MORRIS - The MLC men's basketball team was unable to overcome a strong Minnesota Morris effort on the glass and beyond the arc in a 78-67 loss Friday night.
The Knights shot 45.6 percent from the field for the game, but were outscored 27-12 beyond the three-point arc and 22-10 in second-chance points, as the Cougars won the rebounding battle 38-29 for the game.
Things started well for MLC, as it finished a back-and-forth first half with a 34-33 lead thanks to 51.7 percent shooting from the field and 12 Galen Holzhueter points.
UMM was able to take the lead at 40-38 with 17:22 to play in the game, and immediately gave itself a cushion with an 8-1 run to push its lead up to nine points less than five minutes into the second half.
The Knights hung around the rest of the way, cutting the deficit to five with 2:57 to play following a pair of Luke Rothe free throws, but weren't able to get any closer as the Cougars made the plays down the stretch to put them away.
Holzhueter finished with a team-best 22 points to go with 12 rebounds, while Rothe joined him in double figures with 18 points and added six assists and five rebounds.
MLC fell to 4-13 on the season and 3-3 in UMAC play in defeat, while UMM improved to 11-6 overall and 5-1 in the conference with the win.
The Knights will return to action at 5 p.m. Saturday when they travel to Crown.