The Golden Eagles started their season with a pair of losses in Arkansas.

    The University of Minnesota Crookston men’s basketball team lost another hard-fought game Sat., Nov. 11 as they fell 71-64 to University of Arkansas-Monticello at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville, Ark.   

    The Golden Eagles responded in the second half as they overcame a nine-point half-time deficit. Minnesota Crookston would take a 50-48 over the Boll Weevils with 8:31 left in the game as they had a strong start to the second half. However, Arkansas-Monticello closed out the game on a 23-14 run as they took the 71-64 victory.   

    Minnesota Crookston falls to 0-2 despite taking the Great America Conference’s top two teams to the wire in both games of the GAC/NSIC crossover. Arkansas-Monticello, another NCAA Tournament participant from last season, moves to 2-0 after defeating Minnesota Crookston and fellow NSIC foe Concordia University-St. Paul.   

    The Golden Eagles were led by 21 points from Alan Hodge (Jr., G, Dallas, Texas), who shot 8-of-14 from the field and 3-of-7 from beyond the arc. Chase Knickerbocker (Jr., G/F, Annandale, Minn.) added 18 points and six boards on 5-of-13 from the field. Harrison Cleary (So., G, Oak Creek, Wis.) notched 12 points on 3-of-13 from the field and a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe.   

    Minnesota Crookston shot 23-of-56 for the game for 41.1 percent. The Golden Eagles were 6-of-21 from beyond the arc for 28.6 percent and 12-of-15 from the charity stripe for 80.0 percent. The Golden Eagles improved on the class from Friday as they won the rebound battle 32-28.   

    Minnesota Crookston struggled with turnovers on the day as they had nine assists to 15 turnovers in Saturday’s tilt.   

    Arkansas-Monticello looked to 6-5 forward Derylton Hill with 23 points and five rebounds on 10-of-12 from the field. Karim Mawuenyega added 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists for the game. Tyrin Jones chipped in 14 points on 5-of-11 from the field, while Cobe Goosby tallied 13 points and seven boards on 6-of-10 from the field.   

    The Boll Weevils shot 27-of-50 for 54.0 percent from the field. They were 7-of-17 from beyond the arc for 41.2 percent and 10-of-15 for 66.7 percent from the charity stripe.   

    Arkansas-Monticello also had trouble controlling the ball as they had 11 assists to 17 turnovers on Saturday’s game.   

    The Boll Weevils raced out to a 19-6 lead guided by seven points from Hill and five from Jones. Arkansas-Monticello held on to their lead and even built it to 14 point with a basket from Hill with 6:21 left in the first half. Minnesota Crookston closed the first half out strong with a basket from Knickerbocker and a layup from Gabrys Sadaunykas (R-Fr., G, Vilnius, Lithuania) in order to cut the deficit to 35-26 going into the second half.   

    Minnesota Crookston came out of the locker room on an 11-1 run as they took the lead 37-36 on a Knickerbocker free throw. The Golden Eagles were paced during the onslaught by four points apiece from Cleary and Hodge. Arkansas-Monticello stopped the run with a Mawuenyega trey to take the lead back 39-37. Minnesota Crookston quickly responded and knotted the game back up 39-39 with a pair of free throws from Cleary. The game would stay tied until the 12:09 mark when Jones hit a three-pointer to move the Boll Weevils’ lead to 42-39. Minnesota Crookston countered and cut the deficit to 42-41 with a jumper from Knickerbocker. The Golden Eagles regained the lead soon after on a triple from Hodge to make it 44-42. Minnesota Crookston built their advantage to 47-43 on another Hodge three-pointer. Arkansas-Monticello responded with a 5-0 run led by an old-fashioned three-point play from Hill as they took the 48-47 lead with 9:06 left in the game. The Golden Eagles would take the lead back one last time in the game as a Hodge old-fashioned three-point play gave UMC a 50-48 advantage with 8:31 remaining.   

    The Boll Weevils responded with a 6-0 run ignited by four points from Goosby as they moved the lead to 54-50 with 7:24 left in the game. Minnesota Crookston cut the lead to 54-50 as Knickerbocker nailed a three-pointer. Arkansas-Monticello staved off the Golden Eagles as they pushed their lead back out to 58-53 following a Goosby basket. Minnesota Crookston would be able to cut the deficit back down to two points at 60-58 following a Hodge bucket with 4:06 left.   

    However, Arkansas-Monticello scored 11 of the final 17 points as they hung on for the 71-64 win despite a hard-fought effort from Minnesota Crookston.   

    The Golden Eagles return home to face Oak Hills Christian College Tues., Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. at Lysaker Gymnasium.