BSU Wins NSIC Title With 86-76 Victory over Bulldogs
Thursday, February 26, 2004
[box score]

Feb. 26, 2004

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- On Senior Night at the BSU Gymnasium, the Bemidji State men’s basketball team hit 10 of its first 11 shots in riding past Minnesota Duluth tonight, 86-76 to win at least a share of the 2003-04 NSIC Regular Season Championship for the first time since 1966-67. The Beavers will have to await what second-place Northern State does this weekend at Winona State and Concordia-St. Paul. The Wolves hold down a 12-2 record going into Friday’s game at C-SP and would hold the tiebreaker against the Beavers.

“ This was a great win for us; it has been 37 years (since a conference title),” said head coach Jeff Guiot. “When I took this job, everyone said you can’t win a championship at BSU. But the good Lord let me have all these players...I can’t believe we got some of these guys.

“We worked extremely hard all year. This team is very deserving of these accolades.”

The Beavers, which set a school record with 14 conference wins, improves to 19-8 and 14-2 in the league. The Bulldogs fall to 15-11 and 8-7 in the NSIC.

The Beavers, which move to 24-6 at home versus NSIC opponents under coach Guiot, sprinted to a 23-14 lead after their opening shooting display. Two three’s by junior James Roberson and four points by senior Charles “Buster” Hanks highlighted that run.

The Bulldogs trimmed the deficit to four at 29-33 after a trey by Dusty Decker with 7:58 remaining. However, BSU followed suit and answered back with a 10-4 spurt to take a 44-33 edge and run into the locker room with a 44-39 lead.

Two Roberson baskets sandwiched one by Hanks giving BSU a 50-39 edge out of the half. From there, the guests could never threaten a BSU lead that never got under 10 points. In fact, BSU took a 20-point advantage on two occasions, the last being 74-54 after a trifecta by senior Jamal Clements.

After setting a school record in field goal percentage (.673) last Friday against SW Minnesota State, the Beavers hit on 64.2 percent of their shots, including nine-of-11 (.818) from the foul line. UM-D went 49 percent from the floor and 60 percent from long range. BSU held a 29-22 rebounding advantage.

Hanks came away with his 16th career double-double with 24 points and 12 rebounds, moving himself into fifth-place on the NSIC career scoring charts with 1,021. The Pre-Season All-American pick becomes the only player in NSIC history to score over 1,000 points in just three seasons of action.

Roberson, who became the school’s top assists man on the season (147), posted 18 points on seven-of-10 shooting. The league’s leading shot blocker, Ian Atkins, came back to contribute four points in six minutes of action; Atkins missed the last four games with an injured foot. Freshman Martez Young finished with 10 points on four-of-five shooting, his fourth 10+ point effort in five games.

The Bulldogs received 20 points from Sean Seaman and 18 by John Emerson. Seaman and Emerson were a combined eight-of-10 from behind the arc. Decker posted 14 points while Denny Hudson corralled a team-high six rebounds.

“They (BSU) are very good,” said Bulldog head coach Gary Holquist. “We beat the number one team in the nation a month and a half ago in Metro State. Bemidji State is better than they are.

“Bemidji is a very good basketball team and they deserve to win the league. Charles Hanks is a tremendous player. BSU has a great one-two punch in Hanks and James Roberson. Those two played very effectively tonight.”

The Beavers will host the NSIC Quarterfinal round, Wednesday, Mar. 3 with the opponent yet to be determined. BSU will either be the No. 1 or No. 2 seed and host No. 7 or No. 8.