On Friday, the Minnesota Crookston men's basketball team beat Concordia-St. Paul, 78-76, in the inaugural Parkside Invitational in Kenosha, Wisc.

Harrison Cleary (Sr., G) scored 35 points, while Brian Sitzmann (Rs. So.) scored 20 and Ben Juhl (Jr., G) added 14 for the Golden Eagles, who improved to 2-1.

The Golden Bears lost their first game of the season.

UMC and Concordia are NSIC opponents, but the game was officially a non-conference game.

The Golden Eagles beat the Golden Bears, 81-61, in Crookston in their lone meeting last season. However, this one wasn't quite as easy.

Concordia had just elevated its assistant coach, Eric Johnson, to interim after Joey James resigned a day earlier. But the Golden Bears didn't look like a team reeling from an abrupt coaching change, as they started the game on a 15-2 run with five 3-pointers.

UMC settled in, however. Trailing by eight, the Golden Eagles ran off a 14-8 run going into halftime, where the score stood 32-30 in Concordia's favor.

Cleary scored 16 of UMC's 30 first-half points, while Sitzmann and Juhl added five apiece.

The Golden Bears pushed their lead as high as seven right out of the break, but UMC once again battled back. Javier Nicolau (Sr., C) gave the Golden Eagles the lead on an emphatic dunk from Cleary's assist, and UMC eventually took a 57-50 lead.

After Concordia went on a subsequent 8-0 run to retake the lead, neither team led by more than three until a minute remaining.

Leading 74-73, Nicolau grabbed an offensive rebound and found an open Sitzmann for three. Sitzmann's trey gave UMC a two-score lead at 77-73 with 67 seconds left.

Concordia had a buzzer-beater in an attempt to win, but it was no good.

Minnesota Crookston is back in action tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m., against the winner of Hillsdale and Wisconsin-Parkside in the championship of the Parkside Invitational.