MOORHEAD, Minn. (MSUM Athletics) -- The Minnesota State University Moorhead men's basketball team used an offensive explosion in the second half to pick up their sixth-straight win as they defeated Minnesota Crookston in Saturday night Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play, 101-88.
MSUM improves to 13-5 overall and 7-3 in the NSIC while UMC falls to 10-8 overall and 4-6 in the NSIC.
The Dragons had five players score in double-digits with freshman guard Bryce Irsfeld leading the way with 23 points—tying a career high. Junior guard Johnny Beeninga followed with 19 points and chipped in three assists. Senior forward Addison Park recorded 16 points and three rebounds. Senior guard Travaun Coad had 14 points and tied for the team-best with seven rebounds.
MSUM shot 57.8 percent (37-of-64) from the field compared to 54.5 percent (37-of-68) from UMC. The Dragons shot 69.0 percent (20-of-29) in the second half. MSUM outrebounded UMC 38-22.
MSUM went up 16-9 at the 14:24 mark in the first half off a Beeninga three-pointer. The Golden Eagles would pull within two, but a three from Park put MSUM up 19-14 with 13:00 remaining. A layup from senior guard Jake Johnson gave MSUM their largest lead of the half as the Dragons went up 32-22 with 7:28 on the clock. UMC claimed their first lead of the night with :43 remaining in the half, but a Baumgartner layup brought the score to 42-42 going into halftime.
An early six-point run gave the Dragons a 48-42 lead early in the second half. Irsfeld nailed a three-pointer to bring the score to 75-60 with 9:56 remaining. MSUM continued to string together points and apply defensive pressure through the final minutes, and the Dragons cracked into triple-digits as a Coad layup gave MSUM a 101-85 lead with :07 on the clock. UMC hit a three-pointer at the buzzer, but the Dragons ran away with a 101-88 win.
The Dragons are back home next week as they face Wayne State (Neb.) on Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m. and Augustana (S.D.) on Jan. 19 at 5:30 p.m.
Steve d'Eustachio Stat of the Game: Tonight marks the first time that the Dragons won to improve to 13-5 since their 70-64 win at Minnesota Crookston on Feb. 1, 2003. Current Dragons television color commentator Jared Bledsoe scored a game-high 25 points in the victory hitting 9 of 20 shots including 4 of 11 from 3-pt. range.