Tip-off against the Beavers is 4 p.m. Saturday.
• The Minnesota Crookston men’s basketball team bounced back nicely on Saturday night with a 14-point win over Wayne State College in front of a nice crowd. The Golden Eagles earned a split for the second straight week and head into this weekends huge game with Bemidji State three games over .500 and are in a four-way tie for third place in the NSIC North. This game with the Beavers could go a long way in determining seeding in the NSIC North. The Golden Eagles are very familiar with their next opponent. The Golden Eagles have won the previous two games with BSU by an average of 19 points, dating back to last season. Bemidji State defeated the Golden Eagles in a wild affair last season in Bemidji.
• MOVING ON UP. This season, there aren’t many words to describe the play of Harrison Cleary. The senior guard from Oak Creek, Wis., leads the nation in scoring with 29.2 points per game on the season. Jhonathan Dunn from Southern Nazarene is second in the nation with 27.5 points per game. Cleary currently sits at 2,396 points in his outstanding career and with four points in this weekends game against Bemidji State, can become just the 36th player in all of division II to reach 2,400 points in a career. The last two to reach that milestone was Justin Pitts of Northwest Missouri State and Devin Chavlovich of West Texas A & M. Harrison is also just 262 points away from becoming the NSIC’s all-time leading scorer, which is currently held by former St. Cloud State Husky star Gage Davis.
• 52. Fans who came out to Lysaker Gymnasium last Saturday night not only saw a much-needed 92-78 victory for the Golden Eagles, but they also saw saw a 52-point performance from the man they call H. In the win over Wayne State College, Cleary had just 17 first half points on 4-12 shooting. Good thing a basketball game is 40-minutes. Cleary scored 35 second-half points, including five 3-point makes in the second half to help halt the modest two-game losing streak for the Golden Eagles. Cleary topped his career-high of 47 points, which he scored last December in a win over MSU Moorhead inside Lysaker Gymnasium. Cleary’s 52-points was second most in NSIC history, just three-points away from the record set way back in 1966 by Izzy Schmiesing of St. Cloud State, who scored 55 against Michigan Tech 53 years ago.
• ALL HE DOES IS SCORE. 52-points was a career-high for Cleary, but since he stepped foot in Crookston way back in 2016, he has scored 40-points in a game each season. His freshman year, it was 42 points against Minnesota State. The next season, it was 46, also against Minnesota State, followed up by the 47-point output against MSU Moorhead last season. This past Saturday, Cleary did something no Golden Eagle has ever done before; score 50 or more points. In his career, Cleary has an outstanding 22 games with 30 or more points, including four already this season through just 11 games.
• GRITTY WORK. Redshirt junior Chase Johnson is usually the first person off the bench for Head Coach Dan Weisse. The La Crosse, Wis., native is averaging 19.4 minutes per game, while being second on the team in rebounds per game with 4.7 and 4.0 points per game. Johnson played a big part in the win over the Wildcats, scoring five points and grabbing seven rebounds. It may not always show up in the stat sheet, but Johnson has had a terrific 2019 regular season to this point.
• TYRESE TYME. Freshman Tyrese Shines has started to make an impact for the maroon and gold as a freshman. Shines has seen his minutes increase as the season gets older, playing in a career-high 24 minutes and scoring a career-high six points in a win over Sioux Falls right before Thanksgiving. The lefty from La Grange, Ill., is expected to be a huge part of the future for the Golden Eagles, but he’s trying to make the biggest impact possible in the present time for the Golden Eagles.
• HIGHWAY-2 RIVALRY. Minnesota Crookston and Bemidji State are very familiar with each other. The two Universities are seperated by about 100 miles along Highway-2 and have developed into an outstanding rivalry between the two programs. The “travel partners” will play for the second time this season. The Golden Eagles won the first meeting between these two programs on Nov. 21, a 16-point victory for Minnesota Crookston. Last season in Bemidji, it was a wild, overtime affair that saw the Beavers pull out a one-point victory. The Golden Eagles will hope for a reversal in outcomes this season.
• JAVI SAYS NO. Senior center Javier Nicolau is using his length to make a huge impact on the defensive end this season. Although it’s not a gaudy number, Nicolau’s 1.27 blocks per game is ranked just outside the top-100 in the nation for blocks per game (Nicolau is 101), but is ranked at number seven in the conference in the NSIC. In Saturday night’s win over Wayne State, the Castellon, Spain native scored seven points and grabbed five rebounds, but held Wayne State star Jordan Janssen to just 13 points, his third lowest total of the season.
• ZAC ATTACK. Zac Olson played his best game of his brief college basketball career last Friday night in the loss to Augustana. Olson scored 16 points on 4/7 shooting from the 3-point line, both of which were the most for Olson in a Minnesota Crookston uniform. Olson will look to continue his success this weekend in a very important game for his Golden Eagles on Saturday afternoon.
“Look Good, Play Good”
White Jersey: 4-2
Black Jersey: 3-2
2019-20 NSIC Rankings
Scoring Offense: 10th
Scoring Defense: 14th
Scoring Margin: 13th
Free Throw Pct.: 2nd
Field Goal Pct.: 14th
Field Goal Pct. Defense: 16th
3-Point Field Goal Pct.: 5th
3-Point Field Goal Pct. Defense: 16th
Rebounding Offense: 16th
Rebounding Defense: 14th
Rebounding Margin: 16th
Offensive Rebounds: 15th
Defensive Rebounds: 16th
Blocked Shots: 6th
Turnover Margin: 4th
Assist/Turnover Ratio: 13th
Minnesota Crookston Golden Eagles
Head Coach: Dan Weisse
Record at UMC: 52-102 Season at UMC: Sixth Season
Bemidji State Beavers
Head Coach: Jeff Boschee
Record at BSU: 92-112 Season at BSU: Eighth Season
Minnesota Crookston at Bemidji State
Date: Sat., Dec. 20
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Live Stats: http://stats.statbroadcast.com/broadcast/?id=271925
Radio: KROX 105.7 FM/1260 AM
Series Record: Since 2010, the Beavers leads the series 11-6.
Last Meeting: The Golden Eagles handed the Beavers their first loss of the season on Nov. 21, defeating BSU 88-72.
Trends: These Golden Eagles have won four out of the last five meetings against the Beavers.
Sr. PG 0 Harrison Cleary (6-1 180, Oak Creek, Wis.) 29.1 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 4.4 APG
RSo. SG 14 Brian Sitzmann (6-4 192, Savage, Minn.) 9.5 PPG, 2.9 RPG
RSr. SF 12 Malcolm Cohen (6-6 210, Detroit, Mich.) 8.9 PPG, 3.2 RPG
Jr. PF 10 Ibu Jassey Demba (6-7 200, Birmingham, England) 3.8 PPG, 3.1 RPG
Sr. F/C 44 Javier Nicolau (6-10 220, Castellon, Spain) 6.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG
Top Bench Players
Fr. F 20 Reed Miller (6-6 205, Appleton, Wis.) 4.3 PPG, 2.6 RPG
Fr. G 13 Tyrese Shines (6-3 190, La Grange, Ill.) 2.9 PPG, 1.8 RPG
R-So. F 21 Chase Johnson (6-8 240, La Crosse, Wis.) 4.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG
R-So. G/F 25 Zac Olson (6-5 225, Waterville, Minn.) 3.1 PPG
Jr. F 5 Derek Thompson (6-8 218, Rocori, Minn.) 8.7 PPG, 5.2 RPG
So. G 11 Max Bjorklund (6-1 168, Orono, Minn.) 9.1 PPG, 2.8 RPG
Sr. F 24 Logan Bader (6-7 205, Milltown, Wis.) 9.3 PPG, 7.9 RPG
Jr. G 25 Griffin Chase (6-3 185, Nevis, Minn.) 8.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG
Jr. G 30 Nick Wagner (6-4 195, Galesville, Wis.) 18.3 PPG, 3.1 RPG
Top Bench Players
So. G 14 Benly Olizia (6-3 185, Orlando, Fla.) 3.0 PPG, 1.2 RPG
So. F 15 Cody Landwehr (6-7 226, St. Cloud, Minn.) 7.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG
Jr. F 23 Gavin Baumgartner (6-8 215, Kewaunee, Wis.) 3.1 PPG, 3.1 RPG
BEMIDJI STATE. The Beavers are feeling good about themselves, winning two-straight games this past weekend over Wayne State and Augustana. The Beavers defeated the Wildcats by 29 on Friday and came back on Saturday and stunned No. 23 Augustana on a buzzer-beater from star Nick Wagner to give the Beavers their first victory over the Vikings since Jan. 10, 2014, which also came in Bemidji. It was also the first weekend sweep for the Beavers since early February of 2014, when BSU defeated Minot State and UMary on back-to-back nights.
DRAMATIC FASHION. The Beavers win on Saturday wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. Augustana jumped out to a fast 11-0 run in the first five minutes of the game, before the Beavers answered right back with a 10-2 run to make it just a three-point game. In the second half, the Beavers trailed by four with a minute and a half left, before the Beavers got defensive stops and a Wagner three to give the Beavers a huge and improbable win over the Vikings. The Beavers are currently 2-0 on the homestand and will look to make it three in a row against the Golden Eagles.
THE WAGNER WAY. When the Golden Eagles and Beavers met on Nov. 21, junior Nick Wagner was averaging 31.0 points per game, which was tied for first in the nation. The Golden Eagles held the junior college transfer to just eight points on 2-14 shooting from the field and 0-6 from three. Since that game, Wagner is averaging 15.3 points per game, including averaging 21.5 points this past weekend. Wagner was also named NSIC North Player of the Week for the first time in his career. The guard will look to continue his fantastic stretch this weekend.
SIXTH MAN. What makes the Beavers win over Augustana on Saturday more impressive was that BSU played just six men the entire game. The Beavers were without Ja Morgan and Jacob Hoffman due to injury, but were still able to pull out a two-point win over a ranked Augustana team. The Beavers played Griffin Chase, Logan Bader and Wagner all forty minutes in that game and Zach Baumgartner was the first and only Beaver bench player to play in that game.
PRIDE OF NEVIS. Griffin Chase didn’t have to look very far to find a college basketball home. Chase, a native of Nevis, Minn., which sits just an hour away from his current home, Bemidji. Chase is averaging 8.6 points per game in his junior season and is tied for third on the Beavers in 3-point makes. Chase has started the last six games for the Beavers and scored 18 points in the 90-61 victory over Wayne State College last Friday night and eight points and five assists in the upset of Augustana.
LIFE WITH DEREK. Derek Thompson is enjoying a nice junior season for BSU. The Cold Spring, Minn., native is averaging 8.7 points per game and 5.2 rebounds per game, while also shooting 49 percent from the field. In the win over the Vikings, Thompson scored a season-high 13 points on 5-11 shooting from the field. When Thompson scores in double-figures, the Beavers are 3-1, with their only loss coming at the hands of Minnesota Crookston, a game where Thompson scored 10 points.
TO THE MAX. Starting in place of star point guard Ja Morgan, sophomore guard Max Bjorklund made the most of his first start. The Orono, Minn., native scored 13 points on 3/4 shooting from the 3-point line, a day after scoring 14 points of 2/6 shooting from the 3-point line.
1. Can the Golden Eagles avenge last season’s loss to the Beavers in Bemidji?
2. What will Harrison Cleary’s next performance look like, after his historic 52-point output?
3. Final meeting of 2019 between the Highway-2 rivals
4. Will the bench continue to play well?
5. Can the Golden Eagles halt the three-game winning streak of the Beavers?