Golden Eagles snap six-game skid, beat UMary 72-58 behind hot first half

Jacob Shames
Crookston Times
Georges Darwiche defends UMary's Glenn Jordan during Friday's game between Minnesota Crookston and UMary in Bismarck. Darwiche dished out eight assists in the Golden Eagles, 72-58 win.

On Friday, the Minnesota Crookston men's basketball team won its first conference game in 349 days — doing so in the same place its former most recent win came.

The Golden Eagles exploded for 48 points in the first half on their way to a 72-58 win over the University of Mary at the McDowell Activity Center in Bismarck, N.D., snapping not only a six-game losing streak overall, but a nine-game skid in NSIC play that dated back to last February.

In its 68-62 win over the Marauders on Feb. 15, 2020, UMC needed a Harrison Cleary 3-pointer in the final seconds to seal the win. Friday night was a different story.

Leonard Dixon (Jr., F) knocked down two threes in the first six minutes, giving the Golden Eagles (2-7, 1-6 NSIC) an 18-5 lead. From there, they only grew their lead. Dixon had the hot hand: his 3-pointer with 23 seconds left in the first half put UMC up 48-26 going into the break and gave him 18 points.

The first half was the Golden Eagles' highest-scoring half of the season, ahead of the 43 points they scored in the second half of last Saturday's 77-72 loss to Minot State. It was also just the third time they've scored over 40 points in a half.

Minnesota Crookston cooled down after shooting 55 percent from the field and 50 percent from deep in the first half. Between the 15:55 mark and the 8:37 mark of the second, it scored just two points, allowing the Marauders (3-6, 3-4) to come within 54-47.

But Dixon and Josh Dilling (Fr., G) responded by combining to score 10 straight points in a two-minute span, pushing UMary out of striking distance. Then, Dilling stroked two late 3-pointers that were the final nails in the coffin.

Dilling scored 23 points in last Saturday's game, a career-high that lasted only one week. He dropped 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting to lead the Golden Eagles in scoring. Dixon finished with a 23-point, 12-rebound double-double sparked by five 3-pointers.

Ibu Jassey Demba (Sr., F) was dominant on the glass as well, snaring 13 rebounds. Georges Darwiche (Jr., G), meanwhile dished out eight assists. 

For just the third time this season, UMC out-rebounded an opponent. Its 40-30 advantage on the boards was its largest of the season.

Matthew Kreklow and Lucas Mayer both had 11 points to lead the Marauders, who shot under 40 percent from the floor in both halves.

Friday night was the Golden Eagles' fourth straight win over UMary.

UP NEXT: UMC and UMary square off again at 6 p.m. Saturday.

BOX SCORE

Minnesota Crookston 48-24—72

University of Mary 26-32—58

MINNESOTA CROOKSTON STATS

  • Points: Josh Dilling 27, Leonard Dixon 23, Brian Sitzmann 7, Ibu Jassey Demba 7
  • Rebounds: Ibu Jassey Demba 13, Leonard Dixon 12, Josh Dilling 5, Brian Sitzmann 3
  • Assists: Georges Darwiche 8, Tyrese Shines 3
  • Steals: Georges Darwiche 1, Leonard Dixon 1
  • Blocks: Brian Sitzmann 3, Ibu Jassey Demba 1
  • Team: 28-59 field goals, 11-25 3-pointers, 5-6 free throws

UNIVERSITY OF MARY STATS

  • Points: Matthew Kreklow 11, Lucas Mayer 11, Trever Kaiser 9, Wyatt Carr 8
  • Rebounds: Kam Warrens 9, Trever Kaiser 6
  • Assists: Trever Kaiser 7, Matthew Johnson 6
  • Steals: Deven Franks 1
  • Blocks: Matthew Kreklow 3
  • Team: 19-55 field goals, 6-22 3-pointers, 14-18 free throws

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