No. 14 Northern State ends BSU's hopes of an NSIC/Red Baron Classic Championship
Saturday, March 4, 2006
WINONA, Minn. – [box score] The Bemidji State University men's basketball team had its 2005-06 season come to a close Saturday afternoon dropping its 2006 NSIC/Red Baron Basketball Classic semifinal game to Northern State University 71-58 at McCown Gymnasium in Winona, Minn.

The defending tournament champion Wolves led from wire to wire and never allowed the Beavers to gain any kind of offensive flow or momentum drilling key shots to bring any change in BSU's fortune to a screaming halt.

Adam Grant paced a quartet of NSU players in double figures with a game-high 18 points on 6-of-10 from the floor and 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. Craig Nelson also went 4-of-6 from downtown netting 16 points while All-NSIC First Teamer Matt Hammer finished with 13 points, a game-bests 12 rebounds and six assists.

For BSU, Derik Hollyfield (Sr., G, Aurora, Ill.), who earned All-NSIC Second Team honors earlier this week, capped his career with 16 points and a BSU-best five assists to move into seventh place on BSU's all-time single-season assists list. Fellow senior Manuel Guzman (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) added 13 while Will Watson (Sr., G, Baton Rouge, La.) added 10 points off the bench.

The Wolves would start the game scoring the first four points putting the Beavers down early.

Hollyfield helped BSU keep pace during the opening minutes of the game hitting his first three-point attempts. But a four-minute and 56-second drought for BSU would allow the Wolves a 7-0 run to go up 23-13 by the midway point of the first half.

NSU increased their lead to as many as 13 (35-22) in the half but a spark off the bench from Watson, who collected seven points in seven minutes of play, helped the Beavers climb to within seven points (36-29) before the end of the half.

A pair of Nelson free-throws in the final seconds sent NSU to the locker room with a 38-29 lead at the half.

With both teams struggling from the field in the first there were plenty of opportunities for rebounds and Northern State used its size to grab a 26-16 advantage on the glass. NSU also out shot the Beavers from the free-throw line 16 to 4.

Although BSU came out of the break to score the first bucket of the half cutting the NSU advantage back to seven (38-31), the Wolves would use an 11-6 run to grab a 14-point lead (54-40) with ten minutes to go in the game.

All afternoon, the Wolves seemed to have an answer for any BSU run. Nelson and Grant were a major reasons for that. Any time the Beavers would get a defensive stop or turnover and start to mount any kind of a comeback, the NSU tandem would drill another big shot killing any momentum the Beavers could muster. In the end a shallow bench my have been BSU downfall. NSU's consistent flow of fresh bodies into the game wore on the Beavers as time went on.

The Wolves finished the game owning a 43-32 edge on the glass and a 20-of-27 performance at the line compared to just 6-of-7 for the Beavers.

The Beavers fall to 0-2 versus NSU in NSIC Tournament competition and fail to make the championship game after playing in the semifinal match-up for the fourth consecutive season. BSU is now 5-7 all-time in the conference tournament and has yet to win a single tournament game on the road.

Bemidji State finishes its season 15-13 after posting a 9-5 mark in NSIC competition to claim third place in the regular season. The nationally-ranked, No. 2 seeded Wolves improve to 25-4 on the season and advance to the 2006 NSIC/Red Baron Basketball Classic championship game. Tomorrow the Wolves will battle the winner of today's second semifinal game between No. 1 Winona State and No. 4 Southwest Minnesota State.

The ending of the 2005-06 season also marks the end of the collegiate basketball road for nine BSU players. Alvin Muse, Duane Fields, Sherwin Johnson Steve Warren and Rodney Williams each leave Bemidji State after two seasons of play while Derik Hollyfield, Stacy Pearson-Taylor, Manuel Guzman, Will Watson wrap up one-year playing careers.