The Golden Eagles set a school record for victories in their final home game.
The University of Minnesota Crookston men’s basketball team set a school record for wins in the NCAA Division II era as they upended Minnesota State University Moorhead 89-73. The Golden Eagles hit 11 three-pointers and shot 47.9 percent from the field as they took down the Dragons at Lysaker Gymnasium Sat., Feb. 10 in their regular-season home finale.
UMC improved to 10-16 (7-13 NSIC) with Saturday’s win. The victory over MSU Moorhead was the first for the Golden Eagles over the Dragons since Jan. 28, 2012. The win is also the first for Minnesota Crookston over MSU Moorhead under Head Coach Dan Weisse, who was an assistant coach for the Dragons under Head Coach Chad Walthall from 2011-14. MSU Moorhead falls to 6-20 (4-16 NSIC) with the loss.
The Golden Eagles remain in a tie for fifth place in the NSIC North with Minnesota Duluth. Both teams are one game back of Bemidji State University in fourth place.
UMC was led by Harrison Cleary (So., G, Oak Creek, Wis.,), who had 32 points, six rebounds and six assists on 12-of-25 from the field and 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. Alan Hodge, Jr. (Jr., G, Dallas, Texas) chipped in 18 points on 7-of-16 from the field and 4-of-8 from beyond the arc. Gable Smith (R-Jr., F/C, Lodi, Wis.) put together a well-rounded game both offensively, defensively and on the boards. The elder statesman on the roster had 16 points, nine rebounds and five blocks. His five blocks moved him to 100 blocks in a season. Smith leads the nation in blocked shots with 3.8 per game.
The Golden Eagles were 34-of-71 from the field for 47.9 percent. UMC hit on all cylinders from beyond the arc as they were 11-of-22 from deep for 50 percent. The Golden Eagles were unblemished from the line as they were 10-of-10.
UMC had great ball movement Saturday as they finished with 13 assists to just four turnovers.
Both teams notched 35 rebounds with UMC gaining the edge offensively with 10.
The two teams traded baskets for the first six offensive possessions before Minnesota Crookston used a 7-0 run to take a 13-6 lead following a Cleary triple. The Dragons responded with a 9-0 run to take the lead back 15-13 guided by six points from Beeninga. The two teams went back to trading baskets before MSU Moorhead would be able to move their advantage to 21-18 following a Johnny Beeninga jumper. The Golden Eagles pulled back even 21-21 with a Gabrys Sadaunykas (R-Fr., G/F, Vilnius, Lithuania) trey. Minnesota Crookston was able to move their lead to 28-23 after a Ben Juhl basket with under eight minutes left in the half. Beeninga propelled a 4-0 run to pull the Dragons back within 28-27. The Golden Eagles were able to move their advantage to 32-29 with a Juhl jumper. MSU Moorhead countered back with a 7-0 run as an Matt Anderson bucket put them up 36-32. UMC came right back with a 5-0 run as they took a 37-36 lead following a Hodge triple. MSU Moorhead came right back and took the lead back as Addison Park used an old-fashioned three-point play to put them back in the driver’s seat 39-27. The Dragons followed up with a Travaun Coad jumper and a Park bucket to move their lead to 43-37 with 2:05 left. UMC ended the first half with a bucket from Cleary to pull back within 45-41 going into the locker room.
The Golden Eagles came out with great energy out of the half as Smith ignited a 7-2 run as they went back ahead 48-47 with 17:03 left in the game. The teams would trade baskets as they were knotted up 54-54 following a Beeninga old-fashioned three-point play. Minnesota Crookston jumped right back with a 4-0 run as a Hodge bucket put the Golden Eagles up 58-54. The Golden Eagles were able to extend their lead to 65-58 on a Cleary jumper with 9:52 left in the game. MSU Moorhead responded as they used a 5-0 run to go back up 65-63 with just over nine minutes remaining.
UMC continued to counter responding with a 7-0 run to take the advantage back 72-63 after a Cleary trey. The Dragons pulled back within seven at 72-65 on a Beeninga bucket but that would be as close as they would get the rest of the game. Minnesota Crookston stopped the Dragons offense late as they ended on a 17-8 run as they came away with an 89-73 victory over MSU Moorhead.
UMC will end the regular season on the road as they take on Minot State University Fri., Feb. 16 and University of Mary Sat., Feb. 17.