Bemidji State topples preseason No. 24 Pittsburg State
JOPLIN, Mo.– [box score] Stacy Pearson-Taylor (Sr., G/F, Miami, Fla.) netted career-highs of 20 points and 13 rebounds to pace the Bemidji State University men’s basketball team to a 71-66 win over Pittsburg State University Friday evening at the Leggett and Platt Athletic Center in Joplin, Mo. The Beavers knocked off the Gorillas, ranked 24th in the 2005 NBCA Preseason Poll, in the first game of the Freeman Sports Medicine/Chris Tucker Memorial Classic.
After closing within one point (67-66) on a Justin McCoy layup with 47 seconds remaining in the game, the Gorillas were whistled for McCoy foul and bench technical foul to put BSU on the line for four free-throws with 22 seconds left on the clock. Bemidji State hit 3-of-4 free-throws and would add another with four seconds left to escape with the five-point win.
After hitting the first bucket of the game to take an early lead (2-0), BSU would watch PSU rattle off the next seven points to grab its largest lead of the game (7-2) of five points just 5:54 in.
BSU would counter with eight straight points of their own to regain the lead (10-7) less than three minutes later as Pearson-Taylor would collect six of his team-best 20 points in the run including a pair of put-backs.
But Pitt State crept back into the game closing the BSU advantage to just 14-13 with just under seven minutes to play in the half. But Pearson-Taylor would ignite a BSU 7-0 run with a dunk at the 5:58 mark as BSU stretched its lead to 21-13 with 4:46 before the halftime buzzer.
The Beavers would finish the half strong taking a 25-19 lead into the locker rooms at the break.
Although BSU shot a meager 29 percent (9-31) in the half, the team held PSU to just 5-of-27 (18.9%) in the first 20 minutes while out manning the Gorillas 31-19 on the boards.
The teams would trade baskets during the opening minutes of the second half until a pair of Sherwin Johnson (Sr., G/F, Macon, Ga.) free-throws would spark an 11-2 run and give BSU its largest lead of the game at 12 points (38-26) with 15:01 to play. But the Gorillas would not go away scoring 10 of the next 12 points to reel the Beavers to within four points (40-36) with 13 minutes to go and would close to one point (42-41) just two minutes later.
BSU successfully held PSU off for the next eight minutes, but with just over 180 seconds to play, BSU’s Duane Fields (Sr., G, Los Angeles, Calif.) was called for a foul and a technical foul putting Eddie Johnson on the line. Johnson made good on his first two free-throws to tie the game at 62-62 and would put the Gorillas up 64-62 after draining his second pair.
The PSU lead would be short-lived as Johnson would net a layup and Alvin Muse (Sr., G, South Holland, Ill.)would collect a three to put the Beavers up 67-64 with 73 seconds remaining.
After a quick PSU jumper brought the Gorillas to within one (67-66), PSU would put BSU in the position to win the game at the line and Will Watson (Sr., G, Baton Rouge, La.) and Muse would make good on 3-of-4 and Pearson-Taylor would add another to gain the win and even BSU’s record to 2-2 on the season.
In the game BSU held a 39% to 28% shooting edge while collecting 52 rebounds to PSU’s 38 in a dominating rebounding effort. The Gorillas defense, however, forced the Beavers into 24 turnovers while PSU committed just 16 of its own and out shot BSU from behind the arc five to four as BSU ended a streak of 93 consecutive games with at least five three-pointers.
In addition to Pearson-Taylor’s outstanding performance, Muse added 14 points while Spencer Carter (Sr., F, Chicago, Ill.) grabbed 11 boards and nine points.
Johnson paced the PSU offensive attack netting 24 points while Daniel Blair collected nine rebounds.
The win marks the third straight over Pitt State as BSU improves to 5-2 versus teams from the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association all-time.
The win evens BSU’s record to 2-2 on the year while PSU remains winless at 0-4. The Beavers will be back in action tomorrow (Nov. 26) when they continue Freeman Sports Medicine/Chris Tucker Memorial Classic play battling the host, Missouri Southern State University. Tip-ff is slated for 7 p.m. at the Leggett and Platt Athletic Center.