Minnesota Crookston moves to .500 in conference play at 4-4 and 10-6 overall.

Crookston, Minn.—The University of Minnesota Crookston men’s basketball team defeated the University of Minnesota Duluth in an NSIC battle, 96-88.

    With the nine-point victory over the Bulldogs, Minnesota Crookston moves to .500 in conference play at 4-4 and 10-6 overall. The ten wins matches a school record for wins in a season. The mark was set last season. Meanwhile, with the loss, the Bulldogs fall to 4-4 in NSIC play and 7-5 overall.

    Coming off of a strong overall outing the night before in a win over St. Cloud State University, the Golden Eagles were looking to repeat that against the Bulldogs, who have already defeated the Huskies twice.

    The opening five minutes would see a handful of ties and lead changes, as both teams went back and forth. Harrison Cleary (Jr., G, Oak Creek, Wis.) would finish with the right handed layup to put the Golden Eagles on top 10-8.

    That Cleary layup would be the start of a 7-0 Golden Eagle run to put Minnesota Crookston up 15-8, before a Brandon Myer layup ended the run.

    Minnesota Crookston was fueled by a pair of back-to-back Darin Viken (Sr., G, Fosston, Minn.) three point makes to put the Golden Eagles up by 10, at 31-18.

    The first half would end in a similar fashion to Friday night, with a Golden Eagle buzzer-beater, this time it was Harrison Cleary to send Minnesota Crookston into the halftime break with a nine-point lead.

    The Golden Eagles would make seven shots from behind the arc and did a good job defending the three point shot, as the Bulldogs only hit two. Overall, Minnesota Crookston shot 56.7% from the field during the strong first stanza.

    In the second half, the Golden Eagles would pull away midway through the second half. Viken and Chase Knickerbocker (Sr., F, Annandale, Minn.) hit threes on two straight possessions to stretch the lead to 17 with 12 minutes left in the game.

    Minnesota Crookston would put the stamp on the ballgame with a 9-0 run to go up 85-65, highlighted by a Javier Nicolau (Jr., F/C, Castellon, Spain) dunk in transition.

    The Golden Eagles were led by Harrison Cleary, who finished with 29 points. Cleary now sits at 13th overall in scoring in NSIC history. Knickerbocker, Josh Collins (Sr., F, Minneapolis, Minn.) and Brian Sitzmann (R-Fr., G, Savage, Minn.) each added double-figures.

    The Bulldogs were led by Sean Burns, who scored 19 points on the night. Trevor Entwisle and Brandon Myer added 17 and 14, respectively.

    Overall, Minnesota Crookston shot 58.3% from the field, while Minnesota-Duluth shot 50.0%. The Bulldogs turned the ball over 12 times, compared to the Golden Eagles eight. Free throws were a big factor in the game as well. The Bulldogs missed 11, shooting 20-31, while the Golden Eagles missed just four, shooting 14-18.

    The Golden Eagles are back in action next weekend, as they get set to do battle with Northern State and Minnesota State University, Moorhead. The game with the Wolves is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday night in Aberdeen, S.D. The tip-off against the Dragons is set for 5:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon in Moorhead, Minn.