Minnesota Crookston falls to 5-2 on the season after a Thanksgiving Day loss to the Lions.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The University of Minnesota Crookston men’s basketball team fell to Missouri Southern State University 87-63 in their second game of the 2018 Puerto Rico Basketball Classic in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Lions got out to a 58-41 lead and didn’t look back.

    Minnesota Crookston falls to 5-2 on the season after a Thanksgiving Day loss to the Lions. Minnesota Crookston remains off to their best start in the program’s 20 years in NCAA Division II. Missouri Southern improves to 5-1 with Thursday’s win. The Lions are currently receiving votes in the NABC Division II Coaches Poll.

    “Missouri Southern has a very nice team,” said Head Coach Dan Weisse. “I didn’t like how they beat us to loose balls and I felt we allowed them to be a bit too comfortable on the game. We can take this loss and learn from it. We have to be ready to play tomorrow and finish this tournament strong.”

    Minnesota Crookston was paced by Harrison Cleary (Jr., G, Oak Creek, Wis.) with 13 points on 4-of-15 from the field and 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. Josh Collins (Sr., F, Minneapolis, Minn.) added 10 points on 5-of-8 from the field. Brian Sitzmann (R-Fr., G, Savage, Minn.) notched six points on the day.

    The Golden Eagle bench was very productive led by Darin Viken (Sr., G, Fosston, Minn.) with nine points and five rebounds. Viken has come on for Minnesota Crookston as he has averaged 8.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in two games in Puerto Rico this week. Javier Nicolau (Jr., F/C, Castellon,Spain) added six points for UMC.

    UMC struggled from the field in the first half, shooting just 12-of-34 for 35.3 percent. They improved their mark in the second stanza as they were 14-of-34 from the field for 41.2 percent to finish the game shooting 38.2 percent from the field.

    Minnesota Crookston was 9-of-27 from beyond the arc on the day. Minnesota Crookston hit two of three free throws.

    Missouri Southern controlled the glass Thursday by the tune of 43-36 a big factor for the game. In addition, they forced 13 turnovers. Chase Knickerbocker (Sr., G/F, Annandale, Minn.) led Minnesota Crookston on the glass with eight rebounds. Cleary was the leader for assists for the Golden Eagles with five.

    UMC will look to finish their trip to Puerto Rico with a winning mark as they take on University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras at 9 a.m. C.T. Fri., Nov. 23.