Beavers hold off Concordia-St. Paul in regular season finale, 63-60
Sunday, February 26, 2006

BEMIDJI, Minn. – [box score] Manuel Guzman (Sr., C, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) scored a team-best 16 points while leading all players with 11 rebounds as the Bemidji State University men's basketball team defeated Concordia University-St. Paul, 63-60, in the 2005-06 regular season finale Sunday afternoon at the BSU Gymnasium.

Guzman's double-double was his third of the season and paced a trio of Beavers in double-figures. Alvin Muse (Sr., G, South Holland, Ill.) added 13 points while Duane Fields (Sr., G, Los Angeles, Calif.) recorded 10 points and led the team with five assists.

Concordia-St. Paul was led by a 24-point, eight-rebound rebound performance from Ty Thomas. Drew Shepp also added 10 points in the loss.

Guzman got the Beavers on the board early recording an old-fashion three-point play just 49 seconds into the game making a layup and draining the free-throw after being fouled.

The teams would battle for the lead during the first 12 minutes of the game.

BSU would stretch its lead to as many as five (16-11) with 12 minutes to play in the first, but the Golden Bears would reel the Beavers back in to take the lead (18-16) one minute later.

In all, the score was tied six times and the lead changed hands five times during the first 12 minutes of the game but when Will Watson (Sr., G, Baton Rouge, La.) hit a three-pointer with 7:51 left in the half, it ignited a 9-2 BSU run and pushed BSU's lead to 10 points (32-22) with 5:15 on the clock.

CU would rebound whittling the BSU lead back down to three (33-30) before the halftime horn sounded outscoring BSU 8-1 in the half's final five minutes.

The final 20 minutes was a tightly contested and competitive as it gets. The Golden Bears came out of the break to cut the BSU lead to 33-32 just 23 seconds in. During the next 19:37, neither team would lead by more than four points as the lead changed hands 10 times.

BSU used a six-point run late in the second half to take its largest lead of the second, 60-56, with 1:43 remaining in the half.

CU's Thomas would sandwich a pair of jumpers around a Derik Hollyfield (Sr., G, Aurora, Ill.) free-throw as the Golden Bears sliced the BSU advantage to just one point (61-60) with 23 seconds left in regulation. After Fields missed a pair of free-throws, Thomas would gather the lose ball with a chance to put CU up one point with just seconds remaining, but would turn the ball over at the other end of the court and was forced to foul Guzman to stop the clock. He would foul out with 4.5 seconds to play in the game.

Guzman hit the first freebie to put BSU up 62-60, but would miss the second. Stacy Pearson-Taylor (Sr., F, Miami, Fla.) was there to swipe the rebound for the Beavers and was fouled immediately. He would make one of his two free-throw attempts giving BSU a 63-60 lead with just over a second to play.

CU's Kyle Marxhausen launched a half-court desperation three-pointer as the final horn sounded but it was off the mark as BSU escaped with the win.

BSU was out shot in the game 44 (25-57) to 39 percent (19-49) but a 6-of-16 effort from beyond the arc and claiming more than twice the amount of free-throws or free-throw attempts that its counterpart gave BSU the advantage it needed to claim the win. Guzman's dominating rebounding performance helped BSU to gain a 36-34 edge on the glass.

The victory snapped a two-game losing skid to CU as the Beavers improve to 11-3 in the all-time series versus the Golden Bears. It also ends a two-game losing streak at home just in time for the Beavers to host their 2006 NSIC/Red Baron Basketball Classic quarterfinal game Wednesday. The Beavers have now won 24 of their last 28 games in the BSU Gymnasium.

BSU improved to 14-12 overall and 9-5 in the NSIC as the team holds down the No. 3 spot in the standings and the No. 3 seed in the upcoming conference tournament. CU drops to 16-11 overall and 5-9 in league play and will occupy the No. 7 seed in the tournament facing Northern State at Northern State in the first round.

The Beavers will be back in action Wed. when they host No. 6 seed Minnesota State-Moorhead in the NSIC/Red Baron Basketball classic quarterfinals at 7 p.m. in the BSU Gymnasium. The winner earns the right to play for an automatic bid into the NCAA Division Tournament at Winona, Minn. March 4-5.