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Slow first half for UMC leads to 78-62 loss to MSU Moorhead

Jacob Shames
Crookston Times
Ethan Channel's 17 points weren't enough for Minnesota Crookston men's basketball in its 78-62 loss to Minnesota State Moorhead on Saturday.

Different day, same mistakes for the Minnesota Crookston men's basketball team.

After turning the ball over 22 times and giving up 11 offensive rebounds in Friday night's loss to Minnesota State Moorhead, the Golden Eagles weren't much better Saturday. The Dragons, in control from the start, used a 41-27 rebounding advantage and 24 points off turnovers to send UMC to a 78-62 loss at Lysaker Gymnasium.

"Very good Moorhead team, they'll make you pay for every little mistake," said UMC coach Dan Weisse. "I think personnel-wise, talent-for-talent, we're pretty close. The difference in the game was that they just had a little tougher mentality."

The errors piled up from the beginning. They were relatively tame ones at first: while Weisse thought the Golden Eagles (1-3, 0-2 NSIC) moved the ball well and generated open looks, they simply missed too many of them.

MSUM (2-2, 2-0) then started putting its stamp on the game. Bryce Irsfeld and Dane Zimmer spurred a 15-5 run midway through the first half, which gave the Dragons a 32-13 lead.

Minnesota Crookston needed a "reset," in Weisse's words, and it got one. It went on a 17-6 run stretching between the first and second halves, and got as close as 51-42 on a layup by redshirt junior guard Brian Sitzmann.

"I was encouraged because our guys fought," Weisse said. "We wanted to get it to under 10, and our guys did that."

But the Golden Eagles couldn't fight back any further. They went over five minutes without a bucket after freshman guard Josh Dilling's layup made it 68-57 with 6:59 to play, during which time the Dragons ballooned the lead to 19.

Turnovers were the primary culprit Friday night, with post play second, but that was switched Saturday. MSUM claimed 15 offensive boards, seemingly grabbing a missed shot and putting the ball back in every time UMC made any headway.

"Sometimes we'd play pretty decent defense for 25 seconds, the shot goes up, we box out, but then we failed to just go finish the play and get the ball," Weisse said. "... And some of that's just simply running to the rim and the ball bounces over our head. We gotta have some discipline about us."

Ethan Channel and Georges Darwiche go after a loose ball.

The Golden Eagles also struggled to guard the post in the first place, allowing the Dragons' bigs to carve out optimal position and the Dragons' guards to finish at the rim. Gatdoar Kueth took advantage with 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting, most of them coming deep in the paint, and three other MSUM players were in double figures.

"Where they were getting their catches, it was way too easy for them," Weisse said.

None of that is to say UMC embarrassed itself. It shot a respectable 44 percent from the field and saw strong performances from junior guard Ethan Channel (17 points) and junior forward Leonard Dixon (13 points, 11 rebounds) to lead a once-again balanced offense.

"This week, (Channel) did a really nice job of attacking the rim," Weisse said. "And it's good to see him knock down a couple outside shots."

But that wasn't enough to carry the Golden Eagles to their first NSIC win. They had already dug themselves into too deep of a hole, and a few familiar mistakes made it impossible for them to climb out.

UP NEXT: The Golden Eagles will hit the road for the first time this season, traveling to Aberdeen, S.D. to take on defending conference champion Northern State Jan. 15-16.

The Wolves (4-0, 2-0) were voted unanimous preseason favorites to win the NSIC North, and are coming off a sweep at Bemidji State this weekend. They're ranked No. 7 in the most recent NABC Division II Coaches Poll.

Last season, UMC suffered two heavy defeats at the hands of Northern State: 101-58 in Aberdeen, and 97-60 at home.

"We definitely need to rebound, because I know they have some pretty solid post players," Channel said. "And just stopping them in transition instead of them getting easy leak-out buckets."

Ibu Jassey Demba takes a jump shot during the second half of Saturday's game.

BOX SCORE

Minnesota Crookston 28-34—62

Minnesota State Moorhead 43-35—78

MINNESOTA CROOKSTON STATS

  • Points: Ethan Channel 17, Leonard Dixon 13, Quintin Winterfeldt 7, Georges Darwiche 6, Josh Dilling 6
  • Rebounds: Leonard Dixon 13, Josh Dilling 4, Ethan Channel 2, Georges Darwiche 2
  • Assists: Josh Dilling 4, Ibu Jassey Demba 3
  • Steals: Georges Darwiche 3, Ethan Channel 2, Leonard Dixon 2
  • Team: 24-55 FG, 6-20 3PT, 8-12 FT

MINNESOTA STATE MOORHEAD STATS

  • Points: Gatdoar Kueth 20, Bryce Irsfeld 14, Dane Zimmer 11, Lorenzo McGhee 11
  • Rebounds: Lorenzo McGhee 10, Dane Zimmer 6, Gavin Baumgartner 5
  • Assists: Bryce Irsfeld 4, Dane Zimmer 2, Jacob Beeninga 2
  • Steals: Siman Sem 3, Gatdoar Kueth 2
  • Team: 31-65 FG, 5-17 3PT, 11-14 FT

The Times welcomes your feedback. You can send any comments or questions to our office at (218) 281-2730 or sports editor Jacob Shames at jshames@crookstontimes.com.

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