The Golden Eagles have won six of their last seven games, and will head into Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play with a 6-2 record.

San Juan, P.R.—The University of Minnesota Crookston men’s basketball team wrapped up their three game tilt down in Puerto Rico with a 63-44 victory over the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras. The Golden Eagles come back home with a 2-1 record.

    The Golden Eagles have won six of their last seven games, and will head into Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play with a 6-2 record. Their best start heading into conference play in school history.

    Minnesota Crookston came out of the gates fast, taking a 23 point lead into the halftime break at 42-19.

    The key reason for that quick start was the three point shooting. The Golden Eagles shot 5-12 in the first half, which was good for 41%. The Golden Eagles also got to the charity stripe plenty in the first half, going 9-14 from the free throw line in the first half.

    On the defensive end, the Golden Eagles buckled down in the first half, holding Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras to under 30% shooting.

    Minnesota Crookston would be outscored in the second half, 25-21, but the defense was just as good in the second half, as it was in the first stanza. Minnesota Crookston held their opponent to just 25% shooting in the second half, and just 27% for the entire game.

    Chase Knickerbocker (Sr. G/F, Annandale, Minn.) led the way for the maroon and gold scoring 29 points on 10 of 15 shooting from the field. Five of those makes were from beyond the arc, as Knickerbocker shot five of eight from the three-point line. Josh Collins (Sr. F, Minneapolis, Minn.) added eight points and five rebounds. Harrison Cleary (Jr. G, Oak Creek, Wis.) filled up the stat sheet, scoring five points and added five rebounds, five assists and was a menace on defense, adding two steals. Malcolm Cohen (R-Jr. G/F, Detroit, Mich.) and Chase Johnson (R-So. F, La Crosse, Wis.) each added four points off the bench.

    Joseal Ramos was the only Gallito in double figures, as he scored 10 points for his team. Josue Erazo added seven points and six rebounds.

    The Golden Eagles shared the ball well on the day having 18 assists on 28 makes. Brian Sitzmann (R-Fr. G, Savage, Minn.) led the way with six of those 18 assists.

    Coming off of a double digit loss to Missouri Southern State University on Thursday afternoon, head coach Dan Weisse was happy with the way his team responded.

    “I was really proud of how our guys responded today,” said Weisse. “We really defended well, which was really important because it can get crazy down here at times.”

    Weisse is also happy with the fan support and the way his team represented the program and the University as a whole in Puerto Rico.

    “This was a great experience and our players represented UMC and the Crookston community very well,” he mentioned. “A big shout out goes out to all the fans and the parents that came with us. In particular, Lyle Westrom, our faculty-athletic rep and his family.”

    With the 19 point victory, the Golden Eagles will take a 6-2 record into next weekend’s NSIC matchup with the Beavers of Bemidji State University. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m., in Bemidji, Minn.