It wasn't the statement the Golden Eagles had hoped to make Friday, but it will work just fine.
Minnesota Crookston defeated Missouri Western, 83-74, on Saturday night in St. Joseph, Mo. in the Hilyard Tip-Off Classic. The Golden Eagles improved to 1-1 on the season, a day after they took defending national champion Northwest Missouri State to the wire.
Harrison Cleary (Sr., G) went off for 29 points on 10-of-24 shooting with four treys, while Malcolm Cohen (Rs. Sr, F), Reed Miller (Fr., F) and Brian Sitzmann (Rs. So, G) all scored in double figures as well. Chase Johnson (Rs. Jr., F) pitched in with eight points and seven boards off the bench.
Minnesota Crookston blew it open with a 19-0 run in the first half to take a 23-5 lead eight minutes into the game. It held this lead throughout the first half, going up by as much as 23 before taking a 47-29 lead into halftime.
The Golden Eagles grew their lead to 26 in the second half, before a Griffons run brought them to within 75-70 with a minute remaining. But Sitzmann and Cleary sank free throws to end their hopes of a comeback.
Minnesota Crookston shot 50 percent from the field, 80 percent from the free-throw line and hit 11 of 20 3-pointers.
The Golden Eagles travel to Kenosha, Wisc. for their next game, on Nov. 15 against Concordia-St. Paul.