Minnesota Crookston continues their best start in program history as they moved to 7-3 (1-1 NSIC).
University of Minnesota Crookston stand-out Harrison Cleary (Jr., G, Oak Creek, Wis.) set a new career-high with 47 points as the Golden Eagles used a high-powered offensive attack to take down Minnesota State University Moorhead 108-88. The victory is the second-consecutive win for the Golden Eagles over a strong MSU Moorhead program that had won 11 straight prior to last season. The victory is the second-ever for Head Coach Dan Weisse over the school where he was an assistant coach under current Dragon boss Chad Walthall.
Minnesota Crookston continues their best start in program history as they moved to 7-3 (1-1 NSIC) with Friday’s win. The Golden Eagles are just three wins away from tying their school-record 10 victories from the 2017-18 season. MSU Moorhead falls to 6-4 (0-2 NSIC) with the loss.
Cleary’s 47 points came on 16-of-28 from the field for 57.1 percent. He was 7-of-8 from beyond the arc and a perfect 8-of-8 from the charity stripe. Cleary’s school-record performance builds on an already storied career for the Oak Creek, Wis. native. The night was even more impressive for Cleary in that he opened the game 0-7 from the field. His first basket from the field did not come until a three-pointer at the 3:38 mark. Cleary scored just two points in the first 16 minutes of the game and tallied 45 points in the final 24 minutes Friday. Cleary surpassed Bemidji State University’s Lance Rongstad and Northern State University’s D.J. Pollard to move to 23rd all-time on the career NSIC scoring list. Cleary’s 47 points bested his 46 points Jan. 6, 2018 versus Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Malcolm Cohen (R-Jr., G/F, Detroit, Mich.) had a stand-out performance, as well for the Golden Eagles. Cohen powered the Golden Eagles in the first half with 14 points on 5-of-7 from the field. He finished with a career-high 24 points off the bench on 9-of-15 from the field, and 3-of-8 from beyond the arc. Cohen added four steals for the game.
Brian Sitzmann (R-Fr., G, Savage, Minn.) added 13 points on 4-of-8 from the field. Gable Smith (R-Sr., F/C, Lodi, Wis.) chipped in nine points, seven rebounds, four assists, three steals, and two blocks. Chase Knickerbocker (Sr., G/F, Annandale, Minn.) added eight points.
The Golden Eagles scored a season-high 108 points. Minnesota Crookston fell just three points shy of a school-record 111 points secured Jan. 17, 2004 against Wayne State College. The Golden Eagles were 39-of-68 from the field for 57.4 percent. Minnesota Crookston shot 14-of-23 for 60.9 percent from beyond the arc, and 16-of-18 for 88.9 percent from the stripe.
Minnesota Crookston also controlled the ball well on the evening with 14 assists to just 10 turnovers. Defensively, they were able to turn over the Dragon offense as they had 19 turnovers on the night, including 17 in the first half.
The Dragons shot 33-of-59 for 55.9 percent. MSU Moorhead was 9-of-19 for 47.4 percent from beyond the arc, and 13-of-16 for 81.3 percent from the foul line.
The Dragons won the battle on the glass 32-25 paced by eight rebounds by Jesse Bergh.
MSU Moorhead was led by 28 points from Travaun Coad. Gavin Baumgartner added 18 points, while Johnny Beeninga came off the bench with 14. Siman Sem also came off the bench for 12 points.
Minnesota Crookston opened the game on a 4-0 run ignited by back-to-back long jumpers from Smith. The Dragons knotted the score up 4-4 on a dunk from Sem with 16:18 left in the half. The Golden Eagles held a 9-6 advantage on a Cohen bucket. MSU Moorhead countered with a 5-0 run as they took the lead 11-9 on a fast-break basket from Coad.
The Golden Eagles responded as they used a 10-0 run culminating with a Cohen triple to move into a 19-11 advantage with 11:35 remaining in the half. The Dragons dwindled the deficit down to 20-19 on a Baumgartner bucket. However, Minnesota Crookston held off the charge with a free throw from Smith and a Cohen hoop to get out to a 23-19 lead.
The Dragons would keep the game close at 26-24 following a Coad bucket with 3:55 left in the first half. Minnesota Crookston held on to the lead with Cleary’s first field goal of the half on a trey, along with a Darin Viken (Sr., G, Fosston, Minn.) basket, as they widened the gap to 31-24.
The Golden Eagles used a triple from Cleary at the buzzer to go into the break with a 43-31 advantage on MSU Moorhead.
Minnesota Crookston stretched their lead out to 46-31 on a Cleary trey to open the second half. However, MSU Moorhead began to piece away at the lead as they cut the deficit to nine at 50-41 with a Baumgartner triple with 18:15 remaining. Four-straight points by Sitzmann pushed the lead back out to 54-41 in favor of the Golden Eagles.
The Dragons responded with a three-pointer from Baumgartner and an old-fashioned three-point play from Coad as they cut the lead down to 54-47 with 16:38 remaining in the game.
A trey from Beeninga continued the trend for MSU Moorhead as they sliced the deficit down to 54-50. Minnesota Crookston came up in a crucial spot as they utilized a 10-3 run ignited by five points from Sitzmann to widen the gap out to 64-53.
The Dragons did not go away as they were able to cut the lead to 67-62 on a Beeninga three-pointer with 12:07 left in the game. MSU Moorhead would hold close for the next two points as they sliced the deficit to 71-67 on a Coad old-fashioned three-point play.
Minnesota Crookston again responded as they moved the lead back out to 10 on a Cohen three-pointer with 8:32 remaining in the game. The Dragons pulled back within six at 81-75 after a pair of Bergh free throws.
However, back-to-back triples from Cleary ignited a quick 6-0 run as the Golden Eagles took the lead out to 87-75. MSU Moorhead cut the lead to nine points at 95-86 on a pair of Bryce Irsfeld free throws.
The Golden Eagles would not let the Dragons get any closer as they iced the game on free throws, especially with four-consecutive free throws after two technical fouls were called on the MSU Moorhead bench. Minnesota Crookston took the big NSIC North victory 108-88.
The Golden Eagles will look to build off their win as they host the 2017-18 NCAA Division II runner-up Northern State University Wolves Sat., Dec. 8 at 5:30 p.m.