The University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC) Golden Eagles Men’s Basketball team defeated Minnesota State for the first time in 25 all-time meetings 77-72 in an NSIC game played at Lysaker Gymnasium in Crookston.
Malcolm Cohen (R-Jr., Detroit, MI) scored the game’s first points with a three-pointer just 36-seconds into the game giving the Golden Eagles a 3-0 lead. Following a Minnesota State three-pointer, Harrison Cleary (Fr., Oak Creek, WI) made a technical free-throw after the Maverick’s Carlos Anderson (Jr., Alton, IL) was assessed a technical foul, his second personal foul of the opening two minutes of the game. Malcolm Cohen extended UMC’s lead with a mid-range jump shot before Harrison Cleary scored three-straight points pushing the Golden Eagles’ lead to 9-3. Chase Knickerbocker (Sr., Annandale) buried a triple off the bench extending Minnesota Crookston’s run to 10-0 before two more Cleary free-throws gave the Golden Eagles a 14-3 lead. Minnesota State used a 6-0 run to pull within 16-11 followed by another 5-0 run trimming their deficit down to 18-15 with 11:27 left to play in the first half. Harrison Cleary made a three-pointer with 9:58 to play in the first half pushing Minnesota Crookston in front 21-16. In the final two minutes of the first half, Minnesota State scored four straight points tying the game at 32-32, but a Chase Knickerbocker three-pointer that beat the buzzer to close the first half gave Minnesota Crookston a 35-32 halftime lead. “If we don’t make a couple shots sometimes our defense struggles, but we were making shots early,” said UMC head coach Dan Weisse. “It does help, it doesn’t hurt. I become a better coach when we make shots and any coach will tell you that. We kept the pressure on them early, but it’s a forty-minute game.”
Minnesota State scored the first six points of the second half to take a 38-35 lead. Minnesota Crookston countered with a three-pointer made by Javier Nicolau (Jr., Castellon, Spain) before Nicolau scored another four straight points continuing the Golden Eagles’ 10-0 run pushing UMC ahead 45-38 with 15:56 to play in the game. A Malcolm Cohen three-pointer gave the hosts an eight-point lead before back-to-back Minnesota State three-pointers gave the Mavericks a 50-48 lead. Back-to-back three-pointers from Cleary and Knickerbocker put Minnesota Crookston back on top by eight with 10:20 to play, but Minnesota State continued to battle, scoring six-straight points to pull within 65-63 with 3:24 to play. Minnesota Crookston answered with seven unanswered points highlighted by a Ben Juhl (Soph., Clive, IA) three-pointer giving UMC a 72-63 lead with under one minute to play. Minnesota Crookston went 5-7 from the free-throw line over the final minute of the game which proved enough to hang on for a 77-72 win snapping a four-game losing streak. “We just tried to get back to our basics,” explained Weisse of UMC’s bounce back after four rough losses. “It was a rough couple of weeks on the road. A big thing for us was getting back in transition, this Mankato team does a great job in transition and in rebounding, and we out rebounded them tonight, which was huge. We haven’t done that in a long, long time and to do that against a team like Mankato, who’s a very good rebounding team, I just hope our guys can learn from that and see what that can do for you. It’s not going to be a perfect game, but you have fight through it. I was proud of our guys because we made enough play to get it done and hopefully we can do the same tomorrow.”
Minnesota Crookston improves to 14-12 overall and 7-10 in NSIC play. The Golden Eagles return to the court Saturday when UMC hosts Concordia-St. Paul at 5:30 p.m. on KROX. Minnesota State falls to 15-8 overall and 11-6 in conference play.
|Harrison Cleary||27||2||3 assists/ 3 steals|
|Javier Nicolau||9||9||3 assists/ 3 blocks|