The loss drops the Golden Eagles to 13-11 and 6-9 in the NSIC.
Marshall, Minn.—The University of Minnesota Crookston men’s basketball team was looking to rebound and get a key road win at Southwest Minnesota State.
The Mustangs were fueled by 49 points from senior guard Ryan Bruggeman and defeated the Golden Eagles 100-75.
With the win, SMSU moves to 12-9 overall and 7-8 in the NSIC. The loss drops the Golden Eagles to 13-11 and 6-9 in the NSIC.
The Mustangs would come out firing. SMSU’s quick start was fueled by senior star Ryan Bruggeman, who scored 12 of the Mustangs 22 points in the first five minutes.
The Mustangs would continue to be strong offensively in the first half, with Bruggeman doing a lot of the heavy damage. The Mustangs biggest lead was at 15, 32-17.
Minnesota Crookston would fight back and chip away at the SMSU lead and a big part of the run was Javier Nicolau (Jr., C, Castellon, Spain.). Nicolau would provide the Golden Eagles with eight quality minutes for nine points, including back-to-back buckets from the big man to cut into that deficit even more.
After a down weekend last time out, Harrison Cleary (Jr., G, Oak Creek, Wis.) would bounce back in a big way. The junior scored 18 points in that first half, including going 10-10 from the free throw line. With his second made free throw of the game, Cleary scored his second point of the game, which put him past Casey Schilling in all-time NSIC scoring for seventh all-time.
In the first half, Gable Smith (R-Sr., F, Lodi, Wis.) added six points for the Golden Eagles and Darin Viken (Sr., G, Fosston, Minn.) hit a corner three to give him three points in the first 20 minutes.
As a team, the Golden Eagles shot 52 percent from the field and shot 37.5 percent from the three point line. Minnesota Crookston shot 87.5 percent from the free throw line.
The Mustangs were led offensively by Pelican Rapids native Ryan Bruggeman with 32 points. Bruggeman became the all-time leader in field goals made at Southwest Minnesota State. Taylor Schafer also added 12 points, including hitting two three’s.
As a team, the Mustangs shot a whopping 62.2 percent from the field and made eight threes.
The Golden Eagles would come out of the halftime break and score the first bucket of the second half from a Gable Smith drive and finish.
The second half turned out to continue to be the Ryan Bruggeman show. Bruggeman highlighted his season high in points with 49 by getting a rare four point play to make it 69-51 in the middle of the second half. With that 49 point output, Bruggeman broke the school record for most points in a game.
The Golden Eagles would try to chip away at the lengthy lead in the second half, but couldn’t stop the hot shooting of the Mustangs.
Minnesota Crookston was led by Harrison Cleary who finished with 26 points on the day and didn’t miss a free throw, going 12-12 from the line. Gable Smith finished with 14 points as well for Minnesota Crookston. Malcolm Cohen (R-Jr., G/F, Detroit, Ill.) added eight points for the Golden Eagles.
As a team, Minnesota Crookston shot 48.2 percent from the field and 38.9 percent from the three point line.
Minnesota Crookston is back in action tomorrow night in Sioux Falls as the Golden Eagles do battle battle with the Cougars of Sioux Falls. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. tomorrow night in Sioux Falls.