UMC enters the weekend with a record of 15-12, 8-10 NSIC.
The Minnesota Crookston men’s basketball team bounced back in a giant way last weekend at home inside Lysaker Gymnasium. The Golden Eagles, who at the time were on a four-game losing streak, defeated Minnesota State-Mankato 77-72. The Mavericks are currently in second in the South division of the NSIC. The Golden Eagles handled the Golden Bears of Concordia-St. Paul 81-61 on Saturday night to move into a tie for fifth in the North division. At home for the second straight weekend, Minnesota Crookston will look to continue to make up ground in the NSIC. Minnesota Crookston made 13 three’s on Friday nights win and 15 against Concordia-St. Paul. Minnesota Crookston is one of the best three point shooting teams in the conference, sitting in fourth. This weekend, Minnesota Crookston will look to avenge their two losses to Minot State and UMary. The Marauders defeated the Golden Eagles defeated Minnesota Crookston by nine in Bismarck just under three weeks ago. The Beavers defeated the Golden Eagles 92-61 in the Minot Dome the following day, behind David Akibo’s 28 points. The Beavers and Golden Eagles will tip-off at 7:30 Friday night. The Golden Eagles will try to earn a split in the season series on Saturday night with the Marauders. That game will tip-off at 5:30 p.m.LYSAKER MAGIC There is something about Lysaker Gymnasium that makes it feel special. The Golden Eagles have used that magic and it has propelled them to a 12-1 record at home. Of the Golden Eagle 12 wins at home, 10 of them have been at home, including a 21-point victory over St. Cloud State in early January and a 31-point domination over Upper Iowa. The Golden Eagles have just one loss at home and that came at the hands of the Northern State Wolves, who currently lead the North half of the NSIC. HISTORY FOR HARRISON Harrison Cleary will go down as one of the better players to ever play in not only school history, but NSIC history as well. Cleary, the native of Oak Creek, Wis., set the school record in points on Saturday afternoon in the win over the Golden Bears. Needing just five points to pass Joe Hasz, Cleary scored 11 points to currently pace the record books at 1,924 points and counting. In the NSIC record books, Cleary is fifth all-time in scoring with 1,428 points as a junior. Cleary has a real chance to move into the top three in scoring in the conference, needing just 28 points to pass Cameron McCaffery of Augustana for fourth and just 66 points to move into third all-time to pass Tyler Rudolph, a former Minot State great. More importantly, Cleary will look to get the Golden Eagles two wins this weekend. FORGET ABOUT IT The Golden Eagles trip to North Dakota in late January was one they probably would like to forget. Minnesota Crookston fell at UMary and at Minot State during their last road-trip of January, but they will look to forget about that weekend and not only avenge those losses, but move up in the NSIC standings as well. MOTOR CITY MALCOLM Malcolm Cohen has had a good year for the Golden Eagles, but his last three games as a starter has made the Golden Eagle offense even more dangerous. Since Cohen made his first career start as a Golden Eagle on Feb. 2, Minnesota Crookston is 2-1. Since Cohen entered the starting-five, Minnesota Crookston is averaging 77.3 PPG, up from the 71 PPG the Golden Eagles were averaging in the three games prior to Cohen entering the starting lineup. Cohen himself is averaging 14 PPG in the three games as a starter. Cohen will look to provide that consistent scoring punch this weekend. MR. BIG SHOT It’s been a frustrating year for sophomore Ben Juhl, who has missed eight games due to injury, but he came through when his team needed him the most last Friday night in the win over Minnesota State. The Golden Eagles had two straight possessions where they ended up at the free throw line, but could only go 2-4 from the charity stripes. Both times, the Golden Eagles rebounded their own miss and Juhl made the Mavericks pay by cashing in on a corner three to put Minnesota Crookston up eight with just 1:11 left in the game. That was the only made field goal for the native of Clive, Iowa, but it turned out to be the dagger as he helped propel the Golden Eagles to their first ever victory over Minnesota State in program history. THAT’S JUST UNFAIR At 6-10, Javier Nicolau is solid around the rim and is good defensively. Now that he has incorporated a three-point shot in his arsenal, Nicolau could be tough to stop on the offensive end. In his last six games, Nicolau has made seven three’s and has missed just three attempts from beyond the arc in those three games. Nicolau has come on as of late and will look to continue his sharpshooting this weekend. WINNING WAYS The Golden Eagles need just one win this weekend to guarantee a .500 mark or better for the first time in program history. Minnesota Crookston comes into this weekend with a 15-12 mark overall and 8-10 in the NSIC. With the eight conference wins, that is the most the Golden Eagles have had in program history as well. The Golden Eagles keep on adding to the school record, which was at 10 wins previously, which was set last season. The Golden Eagles will look to continue their winning ways this weekend. SENIOR LEADER Chase Knickerbocker has been one of the big reasons to the turnaround for Minnesota Crookston men’s basketball in his four year tenure. Knickerbocker has come off the bench the last three games, but the senior from Annandale, Minn., has averaged 12 points in the three games off the bench and has been shooting the three ball effectively. Knickerbocker gets set for his final home weekend at Lysaker Gymnasium this weekend. PROGRAM CHANGERS This weekend, the Golden Eagles will honor six seniors who have meant a lot to Minnesota Crookston and its basketball program. Josh Collins, Chase Knickerbocker, Gable Smith, Nate Lorenz, Aaron Hollcraft and Darin Viken will be well known as the class that put Minnesota Crookston on the NSIC map. The six seniors will be recognized this weekend before Saturday’s tip-off against the University of Mary. Smith, who is a fifth-year senior has seen a lot in his Golden Eagle tenure, including a win increase from the 2015-16 season to this season. This class helped change the programs culture and that will be recognized Saturday evening. Minnesota Crookston Projected Starters Jr. PG 0 Harrison Cleary (6-1 180, Oak Creek, Wis.) 21.6 PPG 3.0 RPG 4.1 APG R-Fr. SG 14 Brian Sitzmann (5-4 192, Savage, Minn.)7.0 PPG 2.3 RPG R-Jr. G/F 12 Malcolm Cohen (6-6 210, Detroit, Mich.) 9.0 PPG, 3.2 RPG Sr. PF 30 Josh Collins (6-6 230, Minneapolis, Minn.) 8.0 PPG, 4.9 RPG Jr. F/C 44 Javier Nicolau (6-10 220, Castellon, Spain) 3.8 PPG, 2.9 RPG Top Bench Players So. G 2 Ben Juhl (6-1 186, Clive, Iowa)9.5 PPG 1.9 RPG 1.5 APG Sr. G 13 Darin Viken (6-1 200, Fosston, Minn.) 2.9 PPG, 2.0 RPG R-Sr. C 24 Gable Smith (6-7 225, Lodi, Wis.) 5.1 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 2.2 BPG R-So. F 21 Chase Johnson (6-8 240, La Crosse, Wis.) 3.9 PPG, 4.1 RPG Sr. SF 25 Chase Knickerbocker (6-7 210, Annandale, Minn.) 111.6 PPG, 4.3 RPG Minot State Projected Starters
R-So. G 5 Max Cody (6-1 190, Melbourne, Australia)13.4 PPG 2.2 RPG 5.9 APG So. G/F 10 Dorian Aluyi (6-6 215, Chicago, Ill.)9.7 PPG 5.1 RPG Jr. G 11 Kyle Beisch (6-3 185, Fort Dodge, Iowa)14.1 PPG 3.5 RPG R-Fr. G 14 Drake Jeffries (6-5 175, Mattoon, Ill.)6.4 PPG 4.5 RPG Sr. F 15 David Akibo (6-7 240, London, England)18.9 PPG 8.0 RPG Top Bench Players R-Fr. F 0 Kody Dwyer (6-9 225, Zimmerman, Minn.)6.4 PPG 3.0 RPG Fr. G/F 24 Aleksa Cucovic (6-6 195, Belgrade, Serbia)1.6 PPG Jr. G 2 Nibra White (6-3 165, Chicago, Ill.)3.4 PPG 1.4 RPG UMary Projected Starters Jr. G 0 Jaylan White (5-11 175, St. Charles, Iowa)13.5 PPG 2.2 RPG 3.5 APG So. G 11 Connor Hellebust (6-3 195, Bismarck, N.D.)10.2 PPG 3.4 RPG Sr. G 23 Dennis Austin III (6-3 185, Minneapolis, Minn.)7.0 PPG 5.7 RPG Sr. F 32 Tom Kubank (6-7 200, Adelaide, South Australia)11.7 PPG 5.2 RPG So. F 44 Matthew Kreklow (6-9 210, Maple Plain, Minn.)11.7 PPG 5.9 RPG Top Bench Players Jr. G 1 Johnnie Turner (6-3 195, Minneapolis, Minn.)2.0 PPG 1.9 RPG Fr. G 2 Trever Kaiser (6-2 200, Dassell, Minn.)3.9 PPG 1.9 RPG Jr. F 4 Richard Brown (6-7 215, Houston, Texas)2.4 PPG 1.7 RPG R-Fr. F 5 Justin Engg (6-5 215, Minot, N.D.)1.9 PPG 1.5 RPG So. F 22 Wyatt Carr (6-5 225, Hazen, N.D.)5.0 PPG 2.3 RPG MINOT STATE BEAVERS The Beavers head into Friday’s game with a 2 game win streak after defeating Winona State University and Upper Iowa University. The two wins make their record 12-15 overall, and 7-11 in the NSIC. They are currently ranked seventh in the NSIC North and look to improve their ranking this weekend against the Golden Eagles. DANGEROUS DAVID Coming all the way from London, England is senior guard, David Akibo. Starting all but two games this year for the Beavers, Akibo has been a strong player. In 812 minutes of play, he has racked up 473 points on the 2018-2019 basketball season. He is currently sitting at seventh in the NSIC for points and averaging 18.9 points per game. TO THE MAX Sophomore guard from Melbourne, Australia, Max Cody has been a key player for the Beavers. Cody currently leads Minot State in minutes (949), assists (160), and steals (35). He is also second in assists and seventh in steals in the NSIC. The young guard has also had 360 points, averaging 13.3 points per game. KYLES CHRONICLES Starting all 26 games this season for the Beavers, is junior Kyle Beisch. The guard from Fort Dodge, Iowa has shot 368 points, averaging 14.2 points per game. Beyond the arc, he has had 58 three-pointers, the most for Minot State. Beisch is also second in assists, with 43 for the 2018-2019 season. He looks to add another win to their record this weekend against Minnesota Crookston. UNIVERSITY OF MARY MARAUDERS The University comes into Saturday’s game with a 11-13 overall record and 8-10 in the NSIC. They are currently ranked sixth in the NSIC North and look to beat Minnesota Crookston, who is ranked fifth. Last time the Marauders met the Golden Eagles, they won 76-67. If they win on Saturday, they will win the Minnesota Crookston – University of Mary series. HE DOES IT ALL Jaylan White has played an important role for the Marauders this season. The junior guard from St. Charles, Iowa is leading in points, with 324, and averaging 13.5 PPG. In 846 minutes of play, he has had 32 steals and 83 assists, currently 10th in the NSIC in assists. He looks to pick up another win this weekend to improve the Marauders record. HOLY COW KREKLOW Matthew Kreklow, a 6’9” sophomore guard from Maple Plain, Minn., has had a great start to his young collegiate career. Kreklow leads the Marauders in blocks with 41, and is currently third in the NSIC for blocks, just behind Minnesota Crookston’s Gable Smith who has 50. In 667 minutes of play, he has had 125 rebounds, 100 of which are defensive. TAKE IT TO THE (KU)BANK Tom Kubank, a senior forward from Adelaide, South Australia, has been another key piece for the Marauders. Kubank has had 125 rebounds, 116 defensive and has had 35 assists. In 654 minutes of play, he has had 281 points, averaging 11.7 PPG. He looks to help improve the University of Mary’s record this weekend. #5StoryLines 1. Can Minnesota Crookston continue to dominate in Crookston? 2. Can the Golden Eagles avenge their sweep to these two programs just three short weeks ago? 3. Can Javier Nicolau continue to be productive on both ends of the floor? 4. Can Harrison Cleary continue to climb up the NSIC scoring charts? 5. Will Minnesota Crookston continue to make the three effectively?