MORRIS, Minn.-- North Central started slow and never found their rhythm in a lopsided road loss to the University of Minnesota Morris on Saturday. The host Cougars held the Rams scoreless for over three minutes to start the game while building a double-figure advantage they never surrendered in a 120-76 loss for NCU.
North Central (4-8, 2-3 UMAC) opened up the game missing their first five shots while Morris (Morris, Minn.) build a 10-0 lead over the first three minutes. After the Rams got their first bucket of the game at the 16:57 mark of the opening half, UMM hit a three-point shot and their lead would remain in double-figures the rest of the night.
The Rams were down 26-16 with under 12 minutes to go in the first half but scoring a drought of nearly six minutes allowed the Cougars to take firm control of the game. In their first action since the holiday break, North Central struggled to score in the first half, posting just 28 points in the first twenty minutes, equalling their second lowest output for one half this season.
In the second half the Rams picked up their scoring but never found a way to cool off the Cougars who ended up firing .627 from the floor on the night. NCU was also pounded on the glass where Morris earned a distinct, 40-25 advantage.
Junior Jared High (Buffalo, Minn./Buffalo) led the Rams with 21 points. Senior Joel Cline (Green Bay, Wis./Southwest) added 13 points and 5 rebounds. Junior C.J. Lewis (Minneapolis, Minn./Bloomington-Kennedy) added 10 points.
North Central will try to bounce back with a pair of home games in Upper Midwest Athletic Conference play next week. NCU will host Northland College (Ashland, Wis.) at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 10. On Saturday, January 13, North Central welcomes the University of Wisconsin-Superior (Superior, Wis.) for a 3 p.m. tip-off.