Bemidji State holds off MInnesota, Crookston for 64-62 win
Saturday, January 6, 2007
CROOKSTON, Minn. (Lysaker Gymnasium) -- The Bemidji State University men's basketball team could not have written a better script as it took the court for its first action of the new calendar year. After 13 consecutive losses to begin the season, the Beavers used a layup in the game's final seconds to escape from the the University of Minnesota, Crookston's Lysaker Gymnasium Saturday with a 64-62 win.

Despite being outrebounded 34-25 and outscored 38-18 in the point, the guard-heavy BSU lineup used a 49-percent shooting effort (25-51), with 9-of-14 coming form beyond the three-point arc, to seal its first win of the 2006-07 season and the first ever for Matt Bowen who is in his first season as a collegiate head coach.

"The win is gratifying for me, but I am more happy for our guys," commented Bowen after the game.

"I have told people all year long that we may not have the most talented team, but these guys work hard in practice every day so it is nice to see them get rewarded for that."

Arron Evans (Jr., G, Minneapolis, Minn.) and Dan Sowu (Sr., G, Chicago, Ill.) led the BSU offensive effort each netting 14 points. Sowu was an efficient 5-of-6 from the floor, 2-of-3 from three-point land and a perfect 2-for-2 form the free-throw line. Evans led all players hitting 3-of-4 from downtown and was 5-of-8 from the field while dishing out a game-high four assists.

Freshman point guard Brandon Fields (Los Angeles) matched Sowu for a team-best five rebounds.

Jordan Grafsgaard recorded a game-high 17 points on 6-of-7 from the field and 5-of-10 from the line. He also grabbed a game-best seven rebounds to pace the Golden Eagles on the glass.

The Beavers found themselves down early as UMC scored first and would hold a three-point lead for the first four minutes. But when Sowu and Jermon Marsh (So., G, Savannah, Ga.) posted back-to-back triples, the Beavers would take their first lead of the game (8-6) with 15:47 on the clock.

Bemidji State continued to build its lead as the team combined for seven first half three-pointers.

With 4:47 left in the half, BSU newcomer Seth Haake (Fr., G, Eden Prairie, Minn.), who saw his first action of the season after transferring to BSU for the second semester, hit a jumper form beyond the three-point line to give BSU its largest lead of the stanza, 30-19.

UMC would cut the BSU advantage to six points, 32-26, but Evans would add another three just seconds before the break to take a 35-26 lead into the locker rooms.

As the second half got underway, the Golden Eagles began to creep up on the Beavers who had inevitably cooled off. UMC netted 12 of the first 16 points of the half to trim the BSU lead to 39-37. But an Andre Bell (Jr., PG, Chicago, Ill.) free-throw followed by a triple by Marques Ramos (Jr., G/F, Henderson, Nev.) put BSU up by six points, 43-37, with 14 minutes to go.

Bemidji State would hold that lead for the next eight minutes, but when Grafsgaard hit a jumper with 6:21 to play, it would bring UMC to within one point, 51-50.

The teams would trade baskets while battling for the lead during the game's final minutes.

The Beavers successfully held off the hosting Golden Eagles until Grafsgaard again hit giving UMC its first lead of the second half, 60-59, with just 3:01 left on the clock.

After a timeout by the BSU coaching staff, Sergje Baskow (Fr., F/G, Ludwigsburg, Germany) took a pass form Fields and hit on a jumper to put the Beavers back in control with 2:21 left. But a costly foul by Haake put Mike Thompson on the line for Minnesota, Crookston. After he knocked down both of his free-throws, the Golden Eagles looked poised to post their second consecutive win up 62-61 with 1:55 to play.

The teams were each scoreless during the next 90 seconds despite their chances.

Down one, with 19-seconds to play, BSU's Bell drove the lane for a layup and was fouled. He hit his free-throw to complete the old fashioned three-point play and put BSU up for good, 64-62.

UMC took a timeout to draw up a play, and got two shots off before time expired, but but failed to make good on either.

BSU is now 30-11 all-time versus the Golden Eagles and has won eight straight over UMC dating back to Feb. 8, 2003.

Bemidji State (1-13; 1-4 NSIC) returns to action Friday Jan. 12 when it travels to Bismarck, N.D. to face off against first-year NSIC foe University of Mary (N.D.). Saturday the team will make the trip to Aberdeen, S.D. to battle Northern State University.