The Golden Eagles suffered their eighth straight loss.

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The University of Minnesota Crookston men’s basketball team made a late charge but fell 74-68 Sat., Jan. 27 to Concordia University, St. Paul. The Golden Eagles have struggled to close out late games as they have had eight-straight losses, six of which they have lost by 10 or less points.   

    Minnesota Crookston falls to 8-14 (5-11 NSIC) with Saturday’s loss. Concordia-St. Paul improved to 4-18 (3-13 NSIC) with the victory. The Golden Eagles are in sixth place in the NSIC North, just behind University of Minnesota Duluth, a team they have beaten twice.   

    The Golden Eagles looked to Harrison Cleary (So., G, Oak Creek, Wis.), the conference’s leading scorer. Cleary averaged an impressive 36.5 points on the weekend after recording his career-high 46 points Friday against Minnesota State University. Ben Juhl (Fr., G, Clive, Iowa) added 12 points on 3-of-9 from the field and 5-of-6 from the charity stripe. Josh Collins (Jr., F, Minneapolis, Minn.) added eight points, as did Darin Viken (Jr., G, Fosston, Minn.). Alan Hodge, Jr. (Jr., G, Dallas, Texas) added six points, while Gable Smith (R-Jr., F, Lodi Wis.) had five points, seven rebounds, four blocks and three steals.   

    Minnesota Crookston struggled from the field as they shot just 19-of-53 from the field for 35.8 percent. The Golden Eagles were just 6-of-25 from behind the three-point line for 24.0 percent. Minnesota Crookston shot well from the charity stripe where they were 24-of-26 for 92.3 percent.   

    Concordia-St. Paul looked to a big night from Bryndan Matthews with 29 points on 11-of-19 from the field. Matthews was 5-of-9 from the foul line. Avan Ward added 13 points on 4-of-11 from the field. Evan Wesenberg came off the bench for nine points and six rebounds, while Ahmad Newsome chipped in eight points.   

    The Golden Bears shot 28-of-49 from the field for 57.1 percent. They were 5-of-11 from beyond the arc for 45.5 percent and 13-of-19 from the foul line for 68.4 percent.   

    Minnesota Crookston forced 17 turnovers, but had just 17 points off those turnovers.   

    Concordia-St. Paul won the rebounding edge 30-25 led by six boards from Max Keefe and six from Wesenberg.   

    The Golden Bears got out to a quick 6-3 lead following a Matthews old-fashioned three-point play. Minnesota Crookston was able to pull within 6-5 on a Collins jumper. Concordia-St. Paul responded with a 5-0 run as they took the 10-5 lead following a Matthews jumper. Minnesota Crookston pulled within 10-6 as Smith hit 1-of-2 from the foul line. The Golden Bears responded with a 5-0 run as they extended their lead to 15-6 with 12:37 left in the half. The Golden Eagles would be able to pull within six points as Juhl dropped in a three-pointer to cut the lead to 15-9. Concordia-St. Paul extended their advantage as they used an 8-2 run to move their lead to 23-11. Minnesota Crookston did not throw in the towel as they responded with a 10-0 run led by six points from Cleary to pull within 23-21. The Golden Eagles would fight off the Golden Eagles as they moved to a six-point lead at 34-28 following a Ward bucket. Minnesota Crookston ended the half on a 5-0 run as Viken knocked down a triple and Juhl hit 1-of-2 from the line to pull within 34-32.   

    Minnesota Crookston looked to 14 first-half points from Cleary on 4-of-9 from the field. Viken added five points off the bench, while Collins and Juhl each had four.   

    The Golden Eagles shot 7-of-24 from the field for 29.2 percent in the first half. Minnesota Crookston was just 4-of-13 for 30.8 percent from beyond the arc and 14-of-16 from the stripe for 87.5 percent.   

    Concordia-St. Paul was paced by 16 points from Matthews on 7-of-10 from the field. Newsome added eight points, while Ward added four.   

    The Golden Bears shot 16-of-23 for 69.6 percent as they had a great offensive half. Concordia-St. Paul was 1-of-2 from beyond the arc for 50.0 percent and 3-of-6 from the foul line.   

    Minnesota Crookston pulled within 36-34 early in the second half with a Juhl free throw. The Golden Bears countered with a 5-0 run led by a Keefe three-pointer to extend their lead to 41-34. The Golden Eagles came back with a 6-2 run as they cut the lead to 43-40 with 15:52 left in the game. Concordia-St. Paul came back with a 7-2 run to push their lead to 50-42. Minnesota Crookston would get baskets from Juhl and Cleary to pull back within 50-46 with 9:16 left in the game.    

    Concordia-St. Paul came right back and used a 6-0 run with back-to-back triples as they moved their advantage to 56-46. The Golden Bears moved their advantage to 59-48 with a Matthews triple. The Golden Bears would lead 62-50 following a Matthews bucket with 5:06 left in the game.   

    Minnesota Crookston did not give in down 12 as they used a 9-0 run to pull within 62-59 led by four points from Cleary and a Viken triple. Concordia-St. Paul moved their lead back out to 67-62 after a Wesenberg old-fashioned three-point play. Minnesota Crookston cut the lead to 67-64 on a Cleary basket, but the Golden Bears came back with a Ward bucket to make it 69-64. The Golden Eagles cut the lead back down to three at 69-66 as Gabrys Sadaunykas (R-Fr., G/F, Vilnius, Lithuania) hit a pair from the line. After a miss from Matthews, Wesenberg got the put-back to move the lead for the Golden Bears to 71-66. Concordia-St. Paul moved their lead to 73-66 as Ward hit a pair of free throws with 25.7 seconds remaining. The Golden Bears would hang on for the win 74-68 despite the late charge.   

    Minnesota Crookston will return to play Fri., Feb. 2 against Augustana University at 8 p.m. at Lysaker Gymnasium.