The Golden Eagles move to 17-15 with Wednesday's win to guarantee a winning record on the 2018-19 season for their first winning season in school history.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The University of Minnesota Crookston men’s basketball team picked up their first-ever NSIC/Sanford Health Tournament victory as they upset the 2015-16 NCAA Division II National Champion Augustana University 87-72. The Golden Eagles will advance to the Sanford Pentagon for the first time in school history as they will play No. 6 seed in the NSIC South Winona State University Sun., March 3 at 2:30 p.m. in Sioux Falls, S.D. The Golden Eagles tied their school record with 18 three-pointers as they shot a remarkable 69.2 percent from beyond the arc. Minnesota Crookston opened up the second half on a 24-3 run.
The Golden Eagles move to 17-15 with Wednesday’s win to guarantee a winning record on the 2018-19 season for their first winning season in school history. The victory over Augustana for only their second victory over an NSIC opponent on the road in the last five seasons. The Vikings end their season with an 18-11 mark.
Minnesota Crookston had four players hit over four three-pointers. The Golden Eagles tied their school record of 18 three-pointers set earlier this season against Oak Hills Christian University. Minnesota Crookston was guided by Harrison Cleary (Jr., G, Oak Creek, Wis.), who had 22 points on 8-of-17 from the field, and 5-of-5 from beyond the arc. Ben Juhl (Fr., G, Clive, Iowa) came off the bench for a huge night, as he had 17 points on 6-of-7 from the field, and 5-of-6 from behind the three-point line. Malcolm Cohen (R-Jr., G/F, Detroit, Mich.) had 17 points on 6-of-11 from the field, and 4-of-8 from beyond the arc. Brian Sitzmann (R-Fr., G, Savage, Minn.) chipped in 16 points on 6-of-9 from the field, and 4-of-5 from distance. Gable Smith (R-Sr., F/C, Lodi, Wis.) added eight points off the bench.
Minnesota Crookston shot 32-of-61 from the field for 52.5 percent. The Golden Eagles were 18-of-26 from beyond the arc for 69.2 percent. Minnesota Crookston shot 5-of-9 from the stripe for 55.6 percent. The Golden Eagles out-rebounded the Vikings 39-37. Josh Collins (Sr., F, Minneapolis, Minn.), and Chase Johnson (R-So., F/C, La Crosse, Wis.) led the team with six rebounds apiece.
Augustana was led by 15 points by Dylan Lebrun and Matt Cartwright. Michael Schaefer added 13 points, while A.J. Plitzuweit chipped in 10 points.
The Vikings were 22-of-63 from the field for 34.9 percent. Augustana shot 8-of-18 from behind the three-point line for 44.4 percent.
Cartwright opened up the night for the Vikings by hitting a trey. Cohen answered on the other end for the Golden Eagles to knot the game up 3-3. Augustana went up 5-3 with a Lebrun lay-up. The game was then paused for several minutes due to a fire alarm going off at Sioux Falls Arena.
When the two squads returned the action, the Golden Eagles got the first bucket with as Cleary hit 1-of-2 from the foul line to pull within 5-4. Cohen connected on 1-of-2 from the stripe to knot up the game 5-5. The Golden Eagles were able to take a 13-10 advantage with eight-straight points from Cleary.
The Vikings cut the deficit to 13-12 with a Tyler Riemersma bucket, but Minnesota Crookston came right back on the other end as Juhl drained a three-pointer to push the lead to 16-12. A Cleary jumper extended the advantage to 18-12 as he scored his 11th point of the game.
Minnesota Crookston moved their run to 8-2 as Cleary sank a three-pointer to move the lead to 21-14. The Golden Eagles pushed their lead out to 24-16 as Juhl hit a three-pointer with under 10 minutes left in the first half.
The Vikings countered as they pulled to within 26-21 using a Michael Schaefer old-fashioned three-point play. Augustana sliced the lead down to 26-24 as Riemersma completed an old-fashioned three-point play with 7:50 remaining in the first stanza.
The Vikings extended their run to 8-0 as Riemersma hit a pair from the stripe to tie the game up 26-26. Minnesota Crookston responded in a big way as Smith put down a dunk, followed by a bucket after a defensive stop to push the Golden Eagle back into a 30-26 lead. The Golden Eagles extended their run to 7-0 to combat the Vikings as Sitzmann sank a trey to give Minnesota Crookston a 33-26 advantage.
The fire alarm went off again later in the first quarter with the Golden Eagles ahead 35-28. After the second stoppage, Minnesota Crookston was able to widen the gap to 40-30 as Smith stuffed it following a steal.
The Vikings cut the deficit to 42-34 late in the first half with a Lebrun triple. After an Augustana defensive stop, Lebrun went down and made a basket on the other end to slice the lead down to 42-36.
Minnesota Crookston shot 16-of-31 from the field for an impressive 51.6 percent. The Golden Eagles were lights out from deep as they were 8-of-13 from beyond the arc for 61.5 percent. Augustana was held to 12-of-31 from the field for 38.7 percent. The Vikings shot 3-of-6 from behind the three-point line for 50.0 percent. Augustana out-rebounded Minnesota Crookston 20-17.
The Golden Eagles scored the first points of the second half as Nicolau hit 1-of-2 from the foul line to extend the lead to 43-36. After a defensive stop, Sitzmann drained a triple to push the advantage back out to 46-36. Augie got their first basket of the stanza with a pair of Schaefer free throws, however Sitzmann responded with another crucial triple to move the lead to 49-38. After another defensive stop, Collins completed an old-fashioned three-point play to push the advantage out to 52-38. A Cohen triple continued a hot start for the Golden Eagles as they began the second half with a 13-2 run to take the 55-38 lead.
Minnesota Crookston pushed their run to 60-38 with a Cohen bucket and a Juhl triple as they widened their run to 18-2. Juhl made it three-straight three-pointers to push the run to 24-3 and the lead for the Golden Eagles to 66-39.
Augustana halted the big run as Cartwright hit a triple, and Lebrun hit a pair from the stripe to cut the deficit to 66-44 with a 5-0 run. Cleary stopped the quick run for the Vikings by hitting the 15th three-pointer of the game for Minnesota Crookston to extend the lead to 69-44.
Jameson Bryan drained a trey for Augustana to bring the Vikings back within 69-47. Augustana was able to cut the lead to 73-54 as Lebrun sank a three-pointer for the Vikings with under nine minutes left in the game.
The Vikings used a 6-0 run to slice their deficit to 75-62 using a Lebrun triple. Cohen hit a crucial bucket on the other end as he went to the bank on a three-pointer to move the lead to 78-62. Cartwright hit a trio of free throws after a foul called on a three-pointer to bring the Vikings within 78-65. Cleary countered on the opposite end as he hit a contested triple to move the lead back out to 81-65.
After a crucial offensive rebound, Sitzmann hit his fourth trey of the game to move the advantage out to 84-67 in favor of Minnesota Crookston.
The Golden Eagles iced the win down the stretch as Minnesota Crookston picked up the 87-72 win for their first-ever NSIC/Sanford Health Tournament victory.
Minnesota Crookston will play Winona State Sun., March 3 at 2:30 p.m. at the Sanford Pentagon. The winner moves on to play the winner of Northern State University and University of Sioux Falls Mon., March 4 at 5:30 p.m.