The Golden Eagles improved to 8-6 (2-4 NSIC) with Sunday's victory.

    The University of Minnesota Crookston men’s basketball team held the Bemidji State University offense at bay as they took down the Beavers 72-51. The defensive performance for the Golden Eagles marked the third time the Golden Eagles have held a team under 52 points this season. In addition, Minnesota Crookston was propelled by 33 points from Harrison Cleary (Jr., G, Oak Creek, Wis.) on 13-of-22 from the field, and 5-of-11 from beyond the arc.

    The Golden Eagles improved to 8-6 (2-4 NSIC) with Sunday’s victory. Minnesota Crookston has matched their start to the 2017-18 season. The Golden Eagles are just two wins away from tying their school-record for wins of 10, set during the 2017-18 campaign. Minnesota Crookston spit with Bemidji State on the 2018-19 season as they dropped their game on the road to the Beavers Dec. 1.

    Cleary’s 33 points on Sunday marked the second time this season that the dynamic scorer has scored 30 or more points. Cleary added four rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Cleary now has 1,180 career points in conference play. His 33 points moved him to 15th all-time in conference history, as he surpassed Assem Marei of Minnesota State University, Eric Erdmann of University of Mary, Jordan Miller of Southwest Minnesota State University, Larry Grimes of Michigan Tech University, and Amry Shelby of Wayne State College. Cleary needs just 27 points to move past Craig Heiman of Concordia University-St. Paul, and 31 points to surpass Clayton Vette of Winona State University. Additionally, Cleary needs 307 points to move past Joe Hasz for the school-record for scoring at Minnesota Crookston.

    Chase Knickerbocker (Sr., G/F, Annandale, Minn.) added 10 points, on 4-of-10 from the field, and 2-of-6 from beyond the arc. Chase Johnson (R-So., F/C, La Crosse, Wis.) came off the bench for eight points. Gable Smith (R-Sr., F/C, Lodi, Wis.) finished with four points, 10 rebounds, four assists, and three blocked shots.

    Minnesota Crookston was 30-of-67 from the field for 44.8 percent. The Golden Eagles were 7-of-23 for 30.4 percent from behind the three-point line, and 5-of-6 from the foul line. Minnesota Crookston had tremendous ball control as they had 12 assists to just five turnovers. In addition, the Golden Eagles out-rebounded the Beavers 36-31 on the day. Minnesota Crookston scored 20 of their points off turnovers.

    The Beavers were limited offensively by strong defense by the Golden Eagles. Bemidji State was 17-of-47 for 36.2 percent from the field. In addition, the Beavers shot just 7-of-20 for 35.0 percent from behind the three-point line. Bemidji State was 10-of-12 for 83.3 percent from the charity stripe.

    Bemidji State was propelled by Max Bjorklund with 15 points off the bench on 4-of-5 from the field. Logan Bader was limited to seven points, after coming in averaging 14.1 points per game. Derek Thompson was held to just four points, while Cody Landwehr added seven points.

    The Beavers had 10 assists to 16 turnovers on the game.

    Minnesota Crookston raced out of the gate to a 7-0 lead propelled by five points from Cleary. Bemidji State closed to within 9-4 on a pair of Bjorklund free throws with 14:21 left in the first half. The Golden Eagles countered with a 5-0 run as they pushed out to a 14-4 lead on a Brian Sitzmann (R-Fr., G, Prior Lake, Minn.) free throw. Bemidji State took the deficit down 14-9 on a basket from Jacob Hoffman. The Golden Eagles countered and moved their advantage to 20-9 on a Josh Collins (Sr., F, Minneapolis, Minn.) bucket.

    The Beavers utilized four points from Bjorklund to slice the deficit to 22-15 with 7:12 remaining in the half. A trey from Knickerbocker, and a fast-break hoop from Collins moved the advantage back out to 27-15 in favor of Minnesota Crookston.

    The Golden Eagles pushed their lead to 38-21 on a Johnson dunk for their biggest lead of the half with 52 seconds remaining. A Bjorklund trey pulled Bemidji State within 38-24. The Beavers cut the lead down to 38-25 as Allen Anderson hit 1-of-2 from the stripe with seconds remaining in the open half.

    Minnesota Crookston opened the second half with five-straight points from Cleary to extend their lead to 43-26 with 16:06 left in the game.

    A trey from Landwehr, and a Bjorklund bucket brought Bemidji State within 50-37 with 12:19 remaining in the tilt. Minnesota Crookston utilized a 10-2 run to push their lead out to 60-39 on a Cleary bucket. A Thompson hoop, and a Bader triple brought the Beavers within 60-44 with 6:40 left in the game. Minnesota Crookston used buckets from Cleary and Johnson to push the lead out to 64-44. The Golden Eagles would continue to hold strong down the stretch as they came away with a 72-51 victory.

    Minnesota Crookston remains at home as they take on St. Cloud State University Fri., Jan. 4 at 7:30 p.m. at Lysaker Gymnasium.