The Minnesota Crookston men’s basketball team is off to their best start in program history with a 6-3 mark.

    The Minnesota Crookston men’s basketball team opens up their NSIC home slate this weekend as they are set to take on Minnesota State University Moorhead Fri., Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m. The Golden Eagles will then take on Northern State University Sat., Dec. 8 at 5:30 p.m. The Wolves are coming off an appearance in the NCAA Division II Championship Game last season. The Golden Eagles are looking to turn the tide in both series. The Golden Eagles picked up a win over MSU Moorhead Feb. 10, 2018. The Dragons have won 11 of the last 12 in the series, while Northern State has claimed the last 12 tilts in the series. The last win for Minnesota Crookston over the Wolves came Feb. 4, 2012 in Crookston, Minn.

GREAT START
    The Minnesota Crookston men’s basketball team is off to their best start in program history with a 6-3 mark through the first nine games. The previous best starts for the Golden Eagles came during the 2010-11 season and the 2017-19 season where Minnesota Crookston opened up the season with a 5-4 mark. The Golden Eagles are looking to continue their hot start as they head into this weekend against MSU Moorhead and Northern State at Lysaker Gymnasium.

CHASING GREATNESS
    Harrison Cleary has had an incredible start to his career. The junior already has 1,506 career points for the Golden Eagles. Cleary needs 412 points to surpass Minnesota Crookston great Joe Hasz as the all-time leading scorer. In addition, Cleary is already 25th all-time in points in the NSIC. He has tallied 1,040 career points in conference play. Cleary needs just 17 points to move past a Bemidji State phenom who was a two-sport athlete in Lance Rongstad. Rongstad currently ranks 24th all-time in the NSIC with 1,056 points. Rongstad also was a quarterback for the Beaver football team.

CROWN JUHL
    Minnesota Crookston sophomore guard Ben Juhl returned to the court last weekend against Bemidji State after missing the previous two games. Juhl had a major impact in the Bemidji State game as he notched a team-high 19 points on 8-of-17 from the field, and 2-of-5 from beyond the arc. Juhl has had a great start to his second season with the Golden Eagles. Juhl is averaging 12.7 points per game. He is shooting 41.7 percent from beyond the arc on the 2018-19 season.

KNICKERBOCKER IS THE NAME. THREE POINTERS ARE MY GAME
    Minnesota Crookston has welcomed back Chase Knickerbocker after the senior missed the last half of the 2017-18 season with an injury. Knickerbocker has been off to a great start for the Golden Eagles. The main area this has been seen is behind the three-point line where the Annandale, Minn., native is shooting 43.8 percent. Knickerbocker secured a career-high 29 points against University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras, including five three-pointers. The senior is averaging 13.4 points and 5.0 rebounds per game for the Golden Eagles. He has hit a team-high 27 treys on the season. Knickerbocker also currently sits on the all-time scoring charts, where he is ninth all-time with 705 points. Knickerbocker needs 43 points to surpass Ahmid Palmer for eighth all-time.

LYSAKER MAGIC
    The Golden Eagles have had great success at Lysaker Gymnasium in the last two seasons. Minnesota Crookston is 12-5 at Lysaker Gymnasium over the last two years. The Golden Eagles have already openedup the 2018-19 slate with a 3-0 mark at the friendly confines of Lysaker Gymnasium. Minnesota Crookston is looking to use their home-court advantage against MSU Moorhead and Northern State this weekend.

JUST JOSHING
    No we aren’t “joshing” you, in terms of joking, but Josh Collins is coming into his own as a player this season for the Golden Eagles after transferring from University of North Dakota mid-year during the 2017-18 season. Collins is averaging 8.1 points and 4.7 rebounds per game this season. Collins notched 14 points and six rebounds last weekend against Bemidji State. Collins has secured four games with double-figure scoring this season. He will look to have a big weekend against MSU Moorhead and Northern State.

BACK TO DEFENSE
    The Golden Eagles will look to get back to strong defense this weekend as they host MSU Moorhead and Northern State. Defense has been key for the Golden Eagles this season as they are currently sixth in the NSIC in scoring defense. The Golden Eagles struggled defensively at times against Bemidji State as they uncharacteristically gave up 96 points in an overtime came with the Beavers. Minnesota Crookston has allowed just 64.1 points per game. Opponents are shooting just 40.0 percent from the field and 32.2 percent from beyond the arc.

#5StoryLines

1. Can UMC get back to their defensive ways this weekend?

2. Can Harrison Cleary make a big impact this weekend against MSU Moorhead and Northern State?

3. Can the Golden Eagles limit do-it-all player Ian Smith for Northern State?

4. Can Minnesota Crookston force the MSU Moorhead freshmen to play like
 freshmen?

5. Who off the bench will have a positive impact for the Golden Eagles?