Bemidji State Drops 2004-05 Opener to Minnesota Duluth 90-77
Monday, November 15, 2004
DULUTH, Minn. -- [box score] In search of his first win as an NCAA Division-II skipper, Patrick Smith traveled his team to Romano Gymnasium in Duluth. Minn. Monday. Although the Beavers held a lead for a large portion of the first half, UMD used 20-4 scoring run late in the first half to overcome the deficit and power to a 90-77 win as BSU broke the seal on the 2004-05 season with a loss.

In one of the more bizarre first halves in BSU men's Basketball history, BSU took the early lead but as the Beavers led 18-10 after 10 minutes of play, the gym was evacuated due to a small fire in the building's concession stand. Close to ten minutes passed before the teams were allowed to get back on the court. The delay turned out to be a major turning point in the game.

BSU opened its lead to 11 points (24-13) with just over eight minutes to play in the half, but the Bulldogs' defense would tighten and their perimeter game started to settle in an find their shots.

"We faced some strange situations tonight. But the bottom line is that we have got to handle them better," commented Smith. "We were up 18-10 and pretty-well taking it to them and we had to leave the floor for awhile, but a good team has got to handle that. We came back on got really bad offensively at the end of the first half and deteriorated defensively."

Minnesota Duluth would then rattle off 20 of the next 24 points as the half came to a close capped off by a 75-foot desperation shot by Ryan Breidenbach that found the bottom of the net giving UMD a 33-28 advantage heading into the intermission.

Bemidji State was led by junior Derrick Beechum (Davenport, Iowa) who posted career numbers. Beechum was 8-of-14 from the floor, 3-of-five from behind the arch, and 10-of-11 from the free-throw line for 29 points. The junior also added four assists, three rebounds, two steals and a block. Senior James Roberson (Chicago, Ill.) scored a season-high 15 points draining a perfect 4-of-4 from three-point land, added three free-throws and led the team with a game-high five assists. Junior Spencer Carter (Chicago, Ill.) and senior Amir Major paced the team with six rebounds a piece.

"We didn't rebound the ball well tonight and that came down to deciding the ball game, we gave up too many second- and third-shot opportunities. If we rebounded the ball tonight we would have been in position to win this game tonight."

BSU was out rebounded by a tremendous margin. After crashing the boards right with a much bigger Iowa State team last week, the Beavers pulled down just 26 total rebounds to Minnesota Duluth's 41.

The Bulldog duet of John Emerson and Bryan Foss combined to push UMD past the Beavers. Emerson poured in 26 points on 8-for-17 while adding eight free-throws while Foss' 24 points came on 9-of-14 from the field. Foss added a game-high 13 rebounds for his first double-double of 2004-05.

The Beavers shot 42.1 percent from the floor tonight (24-57) while draining 13-of 24 three-point attempts for a scorching 54.2 percent. BSU took advantage of its free-throws sinking 16-of-20 (80 percent).

Bemidji State is now 0-1 and will be back looking for its first win of the season and in Smith's career Friday and Saturday as the team travels to Mankato, Minn. to compete in Minnesota State University, Mankato's Pepsi Tip-Off. Friday the Beavers will battle Augustana College in a 4:00 p.m. tip-off while Saturday the team takes on the host, Minnesota State at 8:00 p.m.