Bemidji State falls to No. 23 South Dakota in 78-76 heartbreaker
Saturday, November 19, 2005
VERMILLION, S.D. – [box score] The Bemidji State University men's basketball team rallied to dig itself out of a seven-point first-half hole to hold the ball and its destiny with five seconds to play versus No. 23 University of South Dakota Saturday evening. Down by two points, BSU senior guard Will Watson (Baton Rouge, La.) took a long three-point shot that fell short as time expired allowing the Coyotes to escape with a 78-76 victory and a South Dakota Classic Championship at the DakotaDome in Vermillion, S.D.

"I think our kids played hard and well tonight against a pretty tough South Dakota team." commented BSU head coach Patrick Smith after the game. "Anytime you can come into a situation like this, playing a team on its home court in the classic's 'championship game', and put yourself in a position to win, like we did tonight, that is all you can hope for."

In a game tightly contested from the opening tip to the final buzzer, USD held the largest lead of the contest of seven points (13-6) just eight minutes into the game while BSU's owned a five-point advantage midway through the second half.

In all, the lead changed hands on 16 occasions and the score was knotted seven times.

Aside from a short period of time around the 10-minute mark of the second half, when the Beavers held a five-point lead on three different occasions, neither team could break away from the other finding themselves just a basket out of the lead.

The Beavers looked to be in the driver's seat up two (76-74) with 1:08 remaining on the clock, but on the Coyotes' next possession David Nour hit a three-pointer to put USD up 77-76 with just 50 ticks on the clock.

After an errant shot by Bemidji State, the Beavers fouled Nour, who made one of two free throws to put the hosts up by two (78-76) with 10 seconds left.

Smith and the Beavers called a timeout to develop a play to get a shot at either a tie or a win. Watson had his number called but his desperation three-point shot was off the mark.

Duane Fields (Sr., G, Los Angeles, Calif.) led a quartet of BSU players who registered double-digit point totals with 16. Stacey Pearson-Taylor (Sr., G/F, Miami, Fla.) added career-bests of 14 points and seven assists, while Derik Hollyfield (Sr. G, Aurora, Ill.) and Spencer Carter (Sr., F, Chicago, Ill.) finished with 13 and 11 points, respectively. Carter led BSU with nine rebounds.

The Coyotes were paced by Preseason All-American Turner Trofholz who collected game-highs of 26 points and 10 boards. USD also got 14 points and seven assists from Nour and 10 points from Darrick Leonard.

As a team, USD out shot the Beavers 53 to 46 percent from the floor. The Coyotes also held an edge from outside the three-point arc hitting 11-of-19 (.579) treys to BSU's 9-of-26 (.346) performance and owned a 36-31 rebounding edge over the Beavers.

South Dakota extends its series lead over BSU to 4-0 all-time while the Beavers fall to 2-6 versus North Central Conference institutions under Smith.

The Beavers finish the 2005 South Dakota Classic with 1-1 record after defeating Augustana College in the opening round by the score of 83-71.

The loss drops BSU to 1-2 on the year while USD improves to 2-0. The Beavers will be back in action Nov. 25-26 when they travel to Joplin, Mo. for the Freeman Sports Medicine/Chris Tucker Memorial Classic hosted by Missouri Southern State University. The Beavers open the event Friday versus No. 19 Pittsburg State University in a 5 p.m. tip-off and will wrap the classic up with a head-to-head match-up with the host Missouri Southern State at 7 p.m. Saturday.