Minnesota Crookston falls to 7-6 (1-4 NSIC) with Sunday’s loss.

WAYNE, Neb. – Wayne State College (Neb.) limited the University of Minnesota Crookston men’s basketball team from the field as the Wildcats took the game 72-52 Sun., Dec. 16 at Rice Auditorium in Wayne, Neb. The Golden Eagles shot just 35.6 percent from the field and 17.6 percent from beyond the arc. Minnesota Crookston improved defensively as they held the Wildcats to 72 points for their best defensive performance in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) play. However, Wayne State held the Golden Eagles to their lowest point total of the season.

    Minnesota Crookston falls to 7-6 (1-4 NSIC) with Sunday’s loss. The Golden Eagles are off to an identical start to the 2017-18 season, in which they set a school-record for wins with 10. Minnesota Crookston is just three wins shy of tying the career mark for victories. Wayne State moved to 10-1 (5-0 NSIC) as they continue to lead the NSIC South.

    The Golden Eagles were guided by 12 points from Ben Juhl (So., G, Clive, Iowa), who had 12 points on 4-of-11 from the field. Harrison Cleary (Jr., G, Oak Creek, Wis.) added nine points. Cleary is two points from surpassing Eric Erdmann of University of Mary and Assem Marei of Minnesota State University for 18th all-time in NSIC career scoring.

    Brian Sitzmann (R-Fr., G, Savage, Minn.) came off the bench for eight points. Gable Smith (R-Sr., F/C, Lodi, Wis.) added six points, while Javier Nicolau (Jr., F/C, Castellon, Spain) added seven points. Josh Collins (Sr., F, Minneapolis, Minn.) had six rebounds, while Chase Knickerbocker (Sr., G/F, Annandale, Minn.) led the team with eight boards.

    The Golden Eagles were 21-of-59 from the field for 35.6 percent. Minnesota Crookston was just 3-of-17 from beyond the arc for 17.6 percent, and 7-of-12 from the stripe for 58.3 percent.

    The Golden Eagles were out-rebounded 39-35 and had 18 turnovers on the tilt.

    Wayne State was 26-of-57 from the field for 45.6 percent. The Wildcats shot 5-of-17 from beyond the arc, and 15-of-19 from the foul line.

    Wayne State was paced by 18 points from Trevin Joseph on 9-of-17 from the field. Kendall Jacks added 15 points, while Vance Janssen chipped in 14 points. Jordan Janssen added 11 points and eight boards.

    The Wildcats had 11 second-chance points and 18 points off turnovers.

    Minnesota Crookston got out to an early 2-0 advantage off a Juhl jumper. The Wildcats would not score until the 14:59 mark in the first half on a pair of Vance Janssen free throws. The Golden Eagles pushed their lead out to 6-2 on back-to-back Sitzmann buckets.

    Wayne State countered with an 8-0 run as they took the lead 10-6 guided by five points from Jacks and an old-fashioned three-point play from Al’Tavius Jackson. The Golden Eagles responded as they pulled within 10-9 on a Darin Viken (Sr., G, Fosston, Minn.) trey. The Wildcats countered on the other end with a Nick Ferrarini triple to push the lead back out to 13-9. Minnesota Crookston stayed right in the game as they tied up the game 15-15 on a Cleary bucket.

    The Wildcats took the lead back 21-15 with four-straight points from Vance Janssen, and a transition bucket from Joseph. The Golden Eagles stopped the 6-0 run with a Nicolau bucket. However, Wayne State quickly countered with a Luke TerHark triple to widen the gap out to 24-17.

    The Golden Eagles were able to cut the deficit to 24-22 following a Cleary trey and a Smith steal and dunk on the other end. Jacks stopped the quick 5-0 run with a trey to push the lead out to 27-22. A Joseph basket for the Wildcats extended the advantage out to 29-22. The Golden Eagles were able to slice the lead down to 30-24 with 2:18 remaining on a Cleary hoop. The Wildcats were able to widen the gap out to 34-24 as Joseph found Jordan Janssen in the post for two. Juhl hit a trey in the final seconds of the first half as the Golden Eagles went into the locker room trailing 34-27.

    Minnesota Crookston was able to pull within six at 36-30 on a Knickerbocker free throw. Wayne State countered with a 6-0 run paced by a trey from Vance Janssen to push the lead out to 42-30. The Golden Eagles cut the deficit to 44-36 on a Smith jumper with 13:51 remaining in the game. The Wildcats responded with consecutive Joseph buckets to widen the gap to 48-36 with 10:14 left in the game. A Tony Bonner bucket extended the lead out to 50-36 in favor of the Wildcats.

    The Golden Eagles would be able to cut the deficit to 51-38 after Johnson hit 1-of-2 from the charity stripe with 7:25 remaining. Minnesota Crookston pulled within 51-40 after a Juhl put-back. Wayne State responded with a Jordan Janssen bucket and a pair of Vance Janssen free throws to extend the lead to 55-40 with 6:20 left in the game.

    Wayne State pushed the lead out to 59-42 on a Jordan Janssen hoop with 5:34 left in the game. The Wildcats extended their lead to 63-43 on a pair of Vance Janssen free throws. Wayne State would win 72-52.

    Minnesota Crookston returns to the court Sun., Dec. 30 at 4 p.m. against Bemidji State University.