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Bulldogs Split with Upper Iowa in Hoops

Posted at: 02/08/2013 11:08 PM
By: Cory Bellamy

Duluth, Minn. - The University of Minnesota Duluth (11-10, 8-9 NSIC) women's basketball team snapped a six game losing streak in a much needed home contest against Upper Iowa University (7-17, 4-13 NSIC). A strong defense showing by the Bulldogs and hot second half shooting propelld UMD to a 65-53 victory.

The Bulldogs dominated the glass in the first half gathering up 23 rebounds including ten from the offensive glass. Sophmore guard Jessica Newman lead UMD with seven first half points on her way to 14 in the game. The Bulldogs held a six point lead heading into the break.

UMD pulled away in the second half with a 17-6 run to open up. Junior forward Katrina Newman took control for the Bulldogs racking up a double double in the process with 19 points and 11 rebounds, eight of which came on the offensive glass. This is her seventh double double of the year. UMD's defense came to play using the a half court trap that forced 21 turnovers on the night, 13 of them in the second half. The Bulldogs continued to out muscle Upper Iowa on the boards, outrebounding them them 46-32, racking up 24 offensive rebounds in the game.

The Bulldogs are back in action again tomorrow night with another home contest at Romano Gym where the square off against NSIC opponent Winona State (16-7, 10-6 NSIC) at 4 p.m.

In the men's game, Reece Zoelle narrowly missed knocking down a game-winning shot at the buzzer Friday night against Upper Iowa. Zoelle created a good look on a buzzer-beating shot attempt, but could not get it to drop as the University of Minnesota Duluth fell to Upper Iowa 70-69 in devastating fashion Friday night at Romano Gymnasium.

The Bulldogs saw another halftime edge wither away in the second frame in what has been a startling trend for first-year head coach Matt Bowen's club.

"We are consistently inconsistent," Bowen said. "It's frustrating for the kids and it's frustrating for me. We shoot 73 percent in the first half. You know you're not going to keep that up, but then to shoot 28 percent like we did in the second half, it just seems like whatever we did in the first half we just completely forget in the second. It's been this way all year."

UMD blitzed the Peacocks out of the gate, quickly grabbing a 7-0 lead just over three minutes after the opening tip. Upper Iowa would cut the gap to 11-9 minutes later before the Bulldogs regained a multi-possession lead on a 3-pointer by junior center Brett Ervin.

The former Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Rookie of the Year stayed in a rhythm for the remainder of the frame, racking up a team-leading 17 points by the time UMD took a 42-32 lead into the half. Ervin made six of his seven field goal attempts through the first 20 minutes (including a pair from behind the arc) to account for nearly 50 percent of his teams converted field goals (14) to that point.

The Peacocks threw all kinds of attention Ervin's way in the second half, which helped the visitors turn a 10-point deficit into a 46-45 lead with 15:30 remaining in regulation. Upper Iowa would stretch its lead to five a little over four minutes later, and held a two-possession advantage for the next few minutes until the Bulldogs picked up the pace in the waning moments.

UMD forced three ties within the final 2:28 before the Peacocks went ahead for good 70-69 with 59 seconds to play. Following an Upper Iowa shot clock violation, the Bulldogs had 7.5 seconds to try and come up with a game-winning basket, but Zoelle's layup attempt came up just short off the iron as the clock expired.

"It was a good look. It was a contested layup, but Reece did everything we told him to do. He drove to the rim and it just came up a little short," Bowen said. "He made the right read and made the right play, it just didn't go."

After shooting a blistering 74 percent in the first half, the Bulldogs (5-16 overall and 3-14 in the NSIC) hit just seven field goals over the final 20 minutes of play to finish the game shooting 48 percent from the field. Ervin finished with 23 points to pace UMD, while senior guard Jake Hottenstine chipped in with 21 points and five rebounds while going 9-for-11 from the charity stripe. Upper Iowa (16-7; 12-5) shot 49 percent for the game and held a 31 to 25 edge on the boards.

The Bulldogs wrap up the weekend tomorrow evening against Winona State at Romano Gymnasium.