Bemidji State drops final exhibition contest to Drake 79-70
Saturday, November 12, 2005
DES MOINES, Iowa – [box score] For the second consecutive night the Bemidji State University men’s basketball team made things interesting down to the final seconds of an exhibition contest, falling to NCAA Division I Drake University 79-70 Saturday in front of 2,824 at the Knapp Center in Des Moines, Iowa. The Beavers were at the line with a chance to cut the Drake lead to three with just over three minutes to go in the game, but poor shooting down the stretch and foul trouble again spelled doom for BSU.

Spencer Carter (Sr., F, Chicago, Ill.) put on a rebounding clinic for the Bulldog faithful Saturday night. For the second straight game, the senior pulled down 13 or more rebounds versus a Division I opponent. Tonight he led all players grabbing 13 caroms to help BSU to a 43-39 rebounding advantage. He also added 11 points for his second straight double-double and the seventh of his career. Fellow seniors Alvin Muse (G, South Holland, Ill. ) and Duane Fields (G, Los Angeles, Calif.) each collected 12 points to lead BSU while Muse was 5-of-10 from the floor and 2-of-5 from behind the arc to aid BSU in outshooting the Bulldogs .438 (28-64) to .407 (22-54).

Again Saturday the Beavers fought an uphill battle supplying their exhibition opponents with more opportunities at the free-throw line. Tonight BSU was whistled for 32 personal fouls giving Drake 48 free-throw opportunities while making just 8-of-11 of their own. Although the Bulldogs didn’t shoot particularly well from the line, making just 33-of-48 (.688), the team gained 25 points over BSU on the line as free-throws again became a deciding factor in a tight game for the BSU.

Turnovers were also an Achilles heel for the Beavers in the game. The Drake forced a total of 21 turnovers in the game converting those into 26 points while BSU forced just 14 and netted just 13 points from those opportunities.

BSU found itself in a hole early as it spotted Drake seven points before Muse lit the Beaver’s half of the scoreboard. But during the next seven minutes BSU consistently whittled away at the Drake lead, outscoring the Bulldogs 13-6 to knot the game at 17-17 on a Will Watson (Sr., G, Baton Rouge, La.) three-pointer with just over 10 minutes to play in the half.

Thirty-eight seconds later, Muse would give BSU its first lead of the game (21-19) when he cut to the basket for an easy layup.

The Beavers stretched their lead to seven points (27-20) with 7:58 to go in the first half as Carter nailed a jumper, corralled a missed Drake shot at the other end of the court and capped off the six-point run with a layup.

Drake clamped down its defensive pressure during the next two minutes forcing four BSU turnovers and outscoring BSU 10-2 to regain the lead (30-29) with 5:32 to go in the half.

BSU would stick with the Bulldogs for the remainder of the half using a pair of Muse threes and four points from Sherwin Johnson (Sr., G/F, Macon, Ga.) to go into the halftime break tied with Drake 41-41.

Fields got the Beavers on the board first in the second half draining his only three-pointer of the night to put BSU up 44-41. But the Bulldogs would counter with their best stretch of the evening rattling off 17 consecutive points to put BSU down 14 points (58-44) with 13:08 to go in the game.

After such a deflating run it would have been easy for any team to retreat and take the loss, but BSU showed maturity, pride and a strong competitive nature battling back to put itself in position to reel the Bulldogs to within three points with 3:15 to go in the game.

"I feel like we should take a lot of solace in the fact that we came on the road and played two quality Division I opponents a close as we did," commented head coach Patrick Smith after the game. "Obviously would have liked to won--that's why you play the game, but I think this showed a glimpse of just how good this team can be if we keep improving."

Drake was led in the contest by Ajay Calvin who netted a game-high 16 points on 5-of-10 from the field and a perfect 6-of-6 from the line. Calvin also pulled down a eight rebound to pace Drake on the glass.

The loss drops the Beavers to 0-10 all-time versus NCAA Division I opponents and the team to 0-4 in exhibition games under Smith.

Bemidji State will turn around after a day of traveling back to Bemidji, to open its 83rd year of competitive basketball Tuesday (Nov. 15) at 8 p.m. when they host former Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference foe University of Minnesota Duluth at the BSU Gymnasium.