Caleb Donaldson tries to drive to the net. Photo courtesy of Kylie Macziewski
After a tough sweep against Bemidji State, the Huskies were looking to regain their confidence. This would be the week to do just that. St. Cloud State would be taking the University of Minnesota Crookstonv(UMC) Golden Eagles. UMC is ranked last place in the NSIC North with a 2-10 overall record, 1-9 in the conference. This would be the perfect way to boost the Huskies stats. SCSU comes into the weekend around 4th/5th in the NSIC, 3-5 in the conference, and 5-7 overall.
Friday night had an odd tip-time of 5:30 p.m. at the Lysaker Gym in Crookston. The Huskies were nothing short of electric once they took the floor. Immediately, the men weren’t afraid of taking shots – and most of the time those shots were going in. SCSU was shooting 50% from the field and 36% for three’s. Crookston started the game off rough, with a series of shooting woes. UMC made only seven of 28 shots in the first, and only one of ten three-point attempt. There was obviously a disconnect on UMC’s end. This caused the Huskies to boast a 47-24 lead after the first twenty minutes.
With over a twenty point lead, not much could shake up the Huskies, or so you’d think. Somehow the game gets entirely switched in the second half. SCSU starts to have it’s own shooting troubles, while the Golden Eagles start to find their footing. UMC touts a dangerous 58% shooting percentage in the second, along with sinking 6-14 three’s and 4-6 free throws. There were almost able to overtake SCSU with the team shooting 20% worse than in the first half. Speaking of three’s, the Huskies only made one in the third with eleven attempts. At least St. Cloud made 6/6 at the free throw line.
With a crazy first half for the Huskies, and a crazy second half for the Golden Eagles, SCSU is able to scrape by and win with a score of 74-70. This game could’ve easily been a win for either team with both having ugly halves shooting.
Anthony Roberts lead the team once again. He boasts a double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Josh Tomasi had 16 points himself. Matthew Willert tacked on another 11 points and nine rebounds (but only shot 1-7 for three’s). Joe Mutimer lead in assists with three. Ethen Schuemer also made an impact on the night with eight points. For UMC – Leonard Dixon lead with 21 points while Brian Sitzmann had four steals. A big difference in the game, SCSU clinched 15 bench points to UMC’s 5.
After a strange turn of events on Friday, Saturday’s game was a much different story. Tip-time was set for 1:30 p.m. again at Lysaker Gym and the Huskies were off. This time it was the Golden Eagles who had the hot start. UMC shot 15-26 in the first twenty minutes with an added 6-14 three’s for a score of 38. SCSU did similarly, but just seemed to lag behind a bit. 48% was the Huskies from the field and 37% from the three-point line. The first twenty minutes were a definite battle, but this time UMC came out on time at the half with a 38-33 point lead.
The Huskies were obviously bothered by their performance in the first. With a bit of a break during the half, SCSU came back out for revenge. The away team was much more aggressive this time around and had much better defense. The Huskies held UMC to a measly 21 points in the second half. This is mostly due to St. Cloud leading UMC in fast break points 15-3, points off turnovers 16-6, and points in the paint 44-28. With these stats and an obvious confidence boost, the Huskies take game two with a big winning lead 78-59, outscoring Crookston 45-21 in the second half.
Caleb Donaldson was the standout player Saturday with 25 points and three steals. Josh Tomasi and Anthony Roberts both added 16 points themselves. Ryan Bagley claimed seven rebounds and 11 points with a team-leading four assists. Matthew Willert put up two blocks to lead the team. Lots of new and fresh faces for the Huskies were able to put in a few minutes towards of the end of game two, which is always nice to see. For UMC – Josh Dilling and Ibu Jassey-Demba lead with 18 and 15 points, respectively.
After a solid set of games for St. Cloud State, they will move up to claim 3rd place in the NSIC North with a 5-5 conference record, and 7-7 overall. Crookston will stay in last place, moving to 1-11 and 2-12. Minot State is right behind SCSU in 4th. They have .500 in the standings as well, but have played two less games. St. Cloud State looks like they’ll have their ticket punched to the NSIC tournament, but they’ll have to stay strong this upcoming weekend. Only the top four teams will make the tournament, so they can’t get swept or that will put them in the danger zone.
Coming up next for SCSU, the team will be back at home to take on the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs. The Bulldogs are fifth in the NSIC, and will be looking to claw their way up to fourth. It won’t be an easy series, that’s for sure. UMD is 4-6 in the conference and 5-6 overall. The team split with Bemidji this past weekend, who SCSU got swept by two weeks ago. It’ll likely be a series of who can be the most consistent on the court. Consistency is key.
Tip-off against the Bulldogs on Friday at Halenbeck Hall is set for 6 p.m., while Saturday’s game will be at 2 p.m.. This is the last series of the regular season for the Huskies, along with the last home games. We will just have to wait and see who can come out on top, the Huskies or the Bulldogs.
Sydney is a Mass Communications major with a focus in Creative Media Production and a minor in Writing & Rhetoric Studies and will be graduating in Spring of 2021. Sydney is UTVS News Director and the music director at KVSC. She is also a nationally qualified speaker on the speech and debate team. In her free time she loves to play music, watch SCSU hockey games, and play dorky video games with her friends. Connect with her on social media @sydneyisawolf.