Men’s basketball improves record to 3-1 with win at the University of Minnesota-Morris

    Strong defense leads Blugolds to win

    More stories from Luke Alex


    Photo by Clara Neupert

    In this photo from our files, Ben Widdes looks for an opening in the paint. The team’s persistent intensity won them the game against UW-Stevens Point last February.

    The Blugold men’s basketball team picked up their third win of the season on Saturday with a non-conference 75-54 win at the University of Minnesota-Morris.

    Cam Keupers, coming off a 20-point performance against McMurry University, credited the win to a strong defensive effort. The Blugolds held Minn-Morris to only 54 points.

    “They had a couple good shooters, but we stuck with them and made sure they didn’t have any easy shots,” Cam Kuepers, a second-year, said.

    The first half started out relatively close in score. After starting the game on a 11-2 run, both teams traded buckets. Late in the first half, the scored was 27-22 with 1:47 left. Ryan David, a third-year, came off the bench and made his presence felt by hitting two quick three-pointers to help the team go into halftime with a 10-point lead.

    The Blugolds nursed the lead for most of the second half before pulling away completely around the 12 minute mark of the game. The key to pulling away was not exactly an offensive explosion, but rather a lockdown defense that forced the Cougars to make only 17 out of of their 42 total shot attempts.

    “Our goal was containable penetration and we did that well,” Kuepers said. “We wanted to force them into taking tough shots.”

    Despite a small starting lineup, the Blugolds make up what they lack in height with strength and speed, said Kuepers.

    “A lot of the times we have four guards on the court at the same time,” Kuepers said. “So we can really take advantage of that and score.”

    The Blugolds will add some height to their rotation when Clay Kujawa, a second-year forward, returns to the court from an injury. As a first-year, Kujawa appeared in all 25 games for the Blugolds and averaged 5.1 points in only 14 minutes per game.

    “I’m extremely eager to get back on the floor,” Kujawa said. “I can’t wait to be out there again with my team.”

    In the meantime, Kujawa said he provides motivational support and energy for his teammates while he is on the bench.

    “I try to offer encouragement and be really vocal,” Kujawa said. “I want to keep a high energy out there.”

    The Blugolds started their conference play with an away game against UW-Superior on Wednesday.

    Alex can be reached at [email protected].