Bemidji State drops 80-57 exhibition decision to Iowa State
Tuesday, November 9, 2004

AMES, Iowa -- The Bemidji State University men’s basketball team took the court for the first time in the 2004-05 season Tuesday in front of 7,761 at the Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.  The exhibition game pitted the Beavers against Iowa State University.  Though Iowa State was victorious 80-57, the Beavers showed flashes of greatness and promise for the upcoming season.

The 2004-05 team is a vague resemblance of the BSU team that won 20 games in 2003-04 and garnered its first NSIC regular season championship in nearly 40 years.  Its roster features just three players from last year’s team and only two that collected a significant amount of playing time.  So taking the court Tuesday, first-year BSU coach Patrick Smith got an opportunity to see his team play for the first time this season.  And what a measuring stick it was.  Iowa Sate, an NCAA Division I program with one of the most highly touted backcourt combinations in the country, challenged BSU.

The Beavers played the Cyclones close for the first five minutes of the game.  Juniors Spencer Carter (Chicago, Ill.) and Duane Fields (Los Angeles, Calif.) kept BSU close as Carter came out of the gates to knock down his first two three-pointers of the game and Fields connected on a pair off jumpers.  After Five minutes of play, BSU was down just two points (13-11), but the Cyclones defensive presence in the point and well-exicuted 2-3 zone would force BSU to shoot from outside where ISU would take advantage of seven missed shots and three BSU turnovers during the next four minutes to spur a 12-3 run and extend their lead to 11 points (25-14).

The Beavers battled back to come within nine pints (30-21) before the end of the first half, but more poor shooting from the outside and failed execution allowed ISU to go into the break toting a 45-28 lead.
The Cyclones shot 60 percent in the half (18-30) and were 50 percent from beyond the arc (4-8) in the half as Will Blaylock led the charge with 13 points and five assists.

BSU shot 33.3 percent from the field (11-33) with over half of their shots coming from three-point land where they were just 4-of-17 (23.5%).  Highly outsized in the paint, the Beavers struggled early to get the ball inside and get good looks at the basket.  BSU claimed just four points in the paint during the first 20 minutes. Fields led the Beavers in the half collecting nine points on 4-of-6 from the field and 1-of-3 from behind the arc.

The Beavers were out-rebounded by the Cyclones 19-18 in the half but had a commanding lead (8-4) on the offensive boards.

As the second half got underway, Bemidji State showed it was not ready to give up no matter what the deficit.

Fields came out to hit a quick three, set the tone and kick-start an 11-1 run as the Beavers climbed back into the game shrinking the ISU lead to as few as seven points (46-39).  But Stinson led the Iowa State counter dropping a jumper and a pair of free throws to spur an ISU 7-0 run to increase their lead back to 15 points as the mid-point of the second half approached.

The Beavers would never recover from the run as ISU stretched their lead to as many as 25 points late in the half and would go on to a 80-57 victory.

BSU was led in the game by a 16-point performance of Derrick Beechum (Davenport, Iowa), 14 of which came in the second half.  Beechum also added team highs of five steals and four assist.  Senior Amir Major (Chicago, Ill.) set a new career-high with 13 points while leading the team with nine rebounds.

The Cyclones had a balance scoring attack six of the 10 players that saw time in the game record eight or more points.  Stinson and Blalock led the squad with 14 points apiece while Stinson added a team-high nine boards and game-high eight assists.

“Defensively I thought we played pretty well but we gave up too many points in transition,” commented Smith.   “I thought that at times offensively we got too spread out against that 2-3 defense and didn’t attack it.  Towards the end of the second half I thought we did a great job of that, but we just didn’t hit our shots.”

Smith went on to say, “I was please with our effort. We had some mental breakdowns in the execution of our game and we will have to work on them, that is why this game is played, to show us what we need to work on.”

The Beavers officially lift the lid on their 2004-05 season when they travel to Duluth, Minn. to battle former NSIC rival University of Minnesota Duluth Monday (Nov. 15) in an 8:00 p.m.  tip-off at UMD’s Romano Gymnasium.