Smith scores career-high 27 points in NSIC loss to MSU Moorhead
Saturday, December 9, 2006
BEMIDJI, Minn. (BSU Gymnasium) -- It was a career night for Bemidji State University forward Alex Smith (Miami, Fla.). The junior poured in a career-high 27 points in a Beavers loss to Minnesota State University, Moorhead, 72-61, Saturday night at the BSU Gymnasium.

Netting 12-of-18 (.667) from the floor and going 3-of-5 from the line, Smith scored more than any BSU player since Duane Fields tallied 27, Jan. 8, 2005.

Smith was a force in the paint for the Beavers keeping the game within reach for nearly 35 minutes, but when the Dragons rattled off a 10-2 run during the final five minutes of play, it would give MSUM a 14-point cushion (65-51) and put the game out of reach for Bemidji State.

The Beavers finished the night out shooting the Dragons making good on 27-of-62 (.435) while MSUM was 25-for-62 (.403). The difference in the game was that BSU turned the ball over 17 times to MSUM's 10 and got to the line just seven times while the Dragons made 19-of-28 freebies.

Smith led all players in scoring while Arron Evans (Jr., G, Minneapolis, Minn.) added 10 points and matched Andre Bell (Jr., PG, Chicago, Ill.) with a BSU-best five assists. Sergej Baskow (Fr., F, Ludwigsburg, Germany) paced a BSU team that was out rebounded 42-35 with nine boards. Smith pulled down eight with four coming on the offensive end and recorded three blocks.

Jamal O'Neal recorded 16 points and led all players with 13 rebounds for the game's only double-double. O'Neal paced a group of four MSUM players in double-figures. Blake Strouth netted 15 while pulling down eight rebounds and leading the team with four assists and Grant Fossum and Lee Isaacson each dumped in 12.

Despite never holding the lead in the game, BSU matched the Dragons blow for blow in the first half, cutting the MSUM advantage to four-points on six different occasions with chances to slice the lead in half but could never muster enough offense to get over the hump.

Midway through the first half, Smith would net a pair of free-throws and knock down and jumper to bring the Beavers to within four points, 24-18, but BSU would miss of its next three shots and commit two turnovers allowing the visitors to build their lead back to eight, 28-20.

Back-to-back lay-ups by Evans and Smith again reeled MSUM to within two possession, 35-30, with just 1:51 to go in the half, but the Dragons scored the final four points of the stanza to go into the break up 39-30.

The Beavers came out in the second half to trim the deficit to 44-38 in a Dan Sowu (Sr., G, Chicago, Ill.) lay-up at the 15-minute mark. MSUM would respond by scoring five consecutive points to stretch their lead back to 11 points (49-38). But the Dragons just could not shake the Beavers.

A dunk by by Smith followed by a Marques Ramos (Jr., F, Henderson, Nev.) three-point play with 6:24 to go would close the score to 55-49, but the Dragons would slam the door on any hopes of a BSU comeback win when they netted the next five points and 10 of the next 12 to go up 65-51 with just over three minutes to go.

The Dragons went on to claim their second conference win (2-1) and improve to 6-2 overall.

The win gives MSUM a 79-78 lead in an all-time series that got its start Feb. 17, 1928. It also marks the second-consecutive victory the Dragons have posted on the Beavers' home court.

Bemidji State (0-11; 0-4 NSIC) is off until Dec. 20 when it welcomes the University of North Dakota to the BSU Gymnasium for a non-conference tilt. The game is set to follow the 6 p.m. women's game versus the Fighting Sioux with the opening tip slated for approximately 8 p.m.