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Bears top MSUM in NSIC opener

The Minnesota State Moorhead men's basketball coach has noticed a disturbing trend this season. "Any time we think we can get by playing a little less that's what we do," Stu Engen said. "We do not play well when we feel comfortable." It showed a...

The Minnesota State Moorhead men's basketball coach has noticed a disturbing trend this season.

"Any time we think we can get by playing a little less that's what we do," Stu Engen said. "We do not play well when we feel comfortable."

It showed again Saturday.

Concordia-St. Paul erased a 17-point second-half deficit en route to an 83-74 win against the Dragons in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference opener for both teams at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse.

The Dragons' confidence seemed to soar as MSUM raced to a 40-27 first half lead.

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MSUM was deadly inside and out, shooting 48 percent from the floor as a team.

However, everything fell apart quickly in the second half. Senior guard Joey Peel's 3-pointer with 13 minutes,15 seconds remaining started a 30-6 onslaught that put Concordia-St. Paul ahead 67-58.

Peel drilled three 3-pointers during the blistering eight-minute run. The Dragons never recovered.

"It was one of the worst finishes we've ever had," Engen said.

The loss is not MSUM's only major disappointment this week.

Standout junior guard Blake Strouth - who leads the team in scoring with 20.3 points per game - received MRI results Thursday that indicated he has a torn meniscus in one of his knees.

Strouth is expected to play the next two games before undergoing surgery. Engen said Strouth will likely return when conference play resumes in early January.

Strouth said the injury was carried over from last year, but just showed up in this week's examination. An MRI last year revealed no knee damage, he said.

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CSP (4-1, 1-0 NSIC): Forte 3-8 0-0 6, Peel 5-7 3-4 17, Shepp 4-7 1-1 9, Walker 4-6 3-5 12, Marxhausen 4-6 4-4 13, Metcalf 0-1 0-0 0, Chany 1-1 0-0 2, Yancy 1-1 0-0 3, Cunningham 5-6 3-4 14, Heiman 1-4 0-0 2, Birr 1-3 3-4 5. Totals: 29-50 17-22 83.

MSUM (4-2 0-1 NSIC): Williams 5-11 0-0 10, Seals 2-4 1-1 6, Strouth 7-14 4-4 18, O'Neal 5-11 2-2 12, Isaacson 3-6 0-0 6, Aakre 4-11 1-1 12, Palmer 0-0 0-0 0, Hardy 0-0 0-0 0, Holte 5-7 0-0 10. Totals: 31-64 8-8 74.

Halftime: MSUM 40, CSP 27. 3-point goals: CSP 8-16 (Peel 4-6, Walker 1-1, Marxhausen1-1, Metcalf 0-1, Yancy 1-1, Cunningham 1-2, Heiman 0-2, Birr 0-1), MSUM 4-20 (Williams 0-4, Seals 1-2, Strouth, 0-5, O'Neal 0-2, Aakre3-7). Total fouls: CSP 15, MSUM 17. Rebounds: CSP 26 (Walker 6), MSUM 24 (O'Neal 6). Assists: CSP 7 (Peel 2), MSUM 9 (Williams, Strouth 3). Steals: CSP 7 (Cunningham, Birr 2), MSUM 6 (Strouth 3). Turnovers: CSP 18 (Cunningham 4), MSUM 13 (Williams 4).

Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562

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