Men's Basketball Drops Conference Series against St. Cloud and Duluth

Natalie Dillon
Crookston Times

The University of Minnesota Crookston men’s basketball team struggled against two strong conference opponents in St. Cloud State University and the University of Minnesota Duluth. 

The Bulldogs, undefeated so far this season, stifled the Golden Eagles’ second-half comeback effort to pick up the win. 

Crookston controlled the first nine minutes of the game, as they were able to build up a 9-point lead.  

Leonard Dixon and Ethan Channel put up back-to-back threes for an early 4-point lead. Layups from Zen Goodridge and Brian Sitzmann extended the lead to five and seven points, respectively. After three and a half scoreless minutes, Uzo Dibiamaka made a mid-range shot for the 9-point lead.  

Duluth responded, taking the lead with a 12-point run. Dibiamaka tied the game, and Sitzmann regained the lead for the Golden Eagles.  

The lead was brief, however, as the Bulldogs controlled the last half of the game. They returned the favor by heading into the locker room with a 9-point lead at half. 

Joshua Brown extended Duluth’s lead with a three-pointer in the first seven seconds of the second half. The Bulldogs kept this double-digit lead until 12 and a half minutes left in the game. 

For the next nine minutes, the Golden Eagles chipped away at the Bulldogs’ lead, tying the game with three and a half minutes remaining.  

Duluth quickly regained the with two points in the paint, and they scored nine of the last 12 points to secure a 75-68 victory. 

 The men’s basketball team put on an offensive display as four of their five started scored in double figures. Channel led them all with 21 points, while Sitzmann and Dixon added 14 points each. Dibiamaka rounded out the scoring with 13 points. Dixon and Goodridge grabbed the most boards, per usual, with 11 and 9 rebounds respectively.  

In its contest with St. Cloud State, the team shot just 34 percent from the field, including 28 percent in the first half. 

The Huskies tempo and defensive switching stifled the Golden Eagles, as they had poor shot selection and, when they did get a good shot, they didn’t finish. 

“They switched a lot of things one through four,” head coach Dan Weisse said. “That really bothered us. We were just settling for jump shots early and missed a lot of shots that we’d like to make. We have to be tougher with the ball and find a way to make those shots.” 

Goodridge got Crookston on the board first with a shot in the paint, but St. Cloud scored the next 11 points to go up 11-2. 

Channel reignited the spark for the Golden Eagles with two three-pointers and a layup to bring the game within four points. 

The Huskies slowly built their lead, but the Golden Eagles always managed to find a way to fight back. Dibiamaka got the rebound from Dixon for a jumper, and Zach Westphal got it done from beyond the arc to keep the deficit to single digits.  

In the last two minutes, though, St. Cloud outscored Crookston 10-3 for a 17-point lead going into the half. 

The Golden Eagles came out strong in the first four minutes, as they typically do to start the second half, by scoring seven unanswered points. Goodridge got it started by scoring layup in the paint and making his subsequent free throw. Channel once again contributed, and Dixon got in on the scoring too.  

St. Cloud responded with their best scoring run of the game as well, increasing its lead to 55-31. Sam Tiley momentarily stalled the run, but the Huskies scored five more points for a 27-point lead. 

Dylan Hushaw sunk a three-pointer to bring the game within 24, but that’s the closest the Golden Eagles got for the rest of the half. The Huskies went on another run, this time seven points, to go up by 32 with six and a half minutes left. 

Dixon’s three and Westphal’s jumper chipped away at lead, but a three-pointer from Daniel Giestler put the nail in the coffin, as the Golden Eagles fell 82-50. 

Channel led the team offensively with 10 points, while his teammates Dixon and Goodridge also contributed on the boards. Dixon had 7 points with a team-leading 9 rebounds, and Goodridge added 6 points and 7 rebounds. Westphal also chipped in 7 points. Brian Sitzmann and Uzo Dibiamaka combined for 9 of Crookston’s 16 assists.  

The Golden Eagles return home for another weekend of conference play against Nothern State University on Friday, December 10 and Minnesota State University Moorhead on Saturday, December 11.  

Zen Goodridge takes the tip-off.
Zen Goodridge sets a screen for Brian Sitzmann
Sam Tiley fights to get the rebound
Ethan Channel, who had 10 points against St. Cloud, drives to the basket
Uzo Dibiamaka signs an autograph for a fan