Men's Basketball Turns it Around

Natalie Dillon
Crookston Times

The University of Minnesota Crookston men’s basketball team got off to a rough start, losing three of its first four games, but have won its last three games since. 

The Golden Eagles are 4-3 in the 2021-22 season with wins against East Central University, Presentation College and Midwestern State University. Their most impressive win was their 67-57 win in its conference opener against Bemidji State University. In their three-game losing streak, Crookston struggled with transition defense, turnovers, and rebounding but have improved in all three categories. In their last game against Midwestern State University, the Golden Eagles gave up just 9 fast-break points and outrebounded the Mustangs 43-42. 

The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) season has just begun, and with one conference win, Crookston joins Minnesota Duluth, MSU Moorhead and UMary in the top half of the Northern Division. Minot State, Northern State, Bemidji State and St. Cloud State round out the bottom of the conference with one loss. 

Leonard Dixon leads the Golden Eagles in several categories including rebounds per game (5.9), free throw percentage (.857) and three-pointers made (14). He had a team-high 13 rebounds against East Central and 5 three-pointers against Nebraska-Kearney. Uzo Dibiamaka leads Crookston offensively, averaging 12.7 points a game. He also averages 4 rebounds and has made 11 three-pointers. Ethan Channel and Brian Sitzmann are two other key contributors. Sitzmann averages 9.7 points a game and had a team-leading 22 points against Presentation. He has also made the most free throws (12), shooting .750 from the line. Channel averages 11.6 points a game and has 10 three-pointers on the season. Zen Goodridge and Nathaniel Powell crash the boards for the Golden Eagles, as they average 5.9 and 3.6 rebounds, respectively. Dylan Hushaw and Zach Westphal bring consistency to the free throw line as they are shooting .857 (6-7) and .750 (6-8). 

The men’s basketball team returns to Crookston for its second conference game against St. Cloud State University on Thursday, December 2 at 5:30 p.m. \

Leonard Dixon, who leads in average rebounds, free throw percentage and three-pointers made, puts up a midrange jumper
Uzo Dibiamaka applies a full-court press
Brian Sitzmann puts up a contested shot
Ethan Channel plays defense against Bemidji