Minnesota Crookston men's basketball outlasted a late charge by the University of Mary to win, 71-68, in an NSIC game Friday night at Lysaker Gymnasium.
The Golden Eagles improved to 9-10 and 5-8 in conference play, while the Marauders dropped to 9-10 and 4-9.
Both teams started out slowly, the score being tied at 12 midway through the first half. But once Malcolm Cohen (R-Sr., F) got going, UMC was off to the races.
Cohen knocked down two early 3-pointers, and the Golden Eagles started running their offense through him as UMary continued to trap Harrison Cleary (Sr., G). The Marauders made no adjustments, and Cohen continued scorching, hitting seven threes in the first half to turn a nip-and-tuck affair into a 37-19 rout.
UMary scored the last six points of the first half to get some life back, and cut the lead to eight out of halftime. But both teams held steady, neither team able to get much momentum until the Golden Eagles went on a 15-4 run to go up 66-48 with five minutes left.
UMC went cold from there, though, while Marauders guard Jaylan White got into the lane at will and big man Matthew Kreklow drew a number of fouls. Between White's layups and Kreklow's free throws, UMary finished the game on a 20-5 run.
With five seconds left, White shot a 3-pointer that would have sent the game to overtime, but it smacked off the backboard.
Cohen finished with a career-high 28 points and eight 3-pointers, almost all of which came in the first half. Cleary atypically missed eight of nine 3-pointers, but was effective on the drive and as a facilitator, scoring 19 points with eight assists. Ibu Jassey Demba (Jr., F) had one of his best games as a Golden Eagle with an 11-point, 11-rebound double-double.
Kreklow and White were the Marauders' offense almost in full — Kreklow scored 23 points and got 12 rebounds, while White scored 18 points.
UMary outshot Minnesota Crookston, 46.6 percent to 38.2 percent, but was cold from behind the arc — just 2-of-13, while the Golden Eagles were 14-of-34.
UP NEXT: Minnesota Crookston takes on Minot State at 5:30 p.m. at Lysaker Gymnasium. The Beavers (8-11, 2-11 NSIC) are last place in the NSIC North but have won two straight games, beating NSIC South leader Sioux Falls last week and winning at Bemidji State on Friday night.
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