Late Mustang run helps SMSU past Beavers, 63-54
Friday, January 26, 2007
BEMIDJI, Minn. (BSU Gymnasium) -- Bemidji State University men's basketball perimeter tandem of Seth Haake (Fr., Eden Prairie, Minn) and Arron Evans (Jr., Minneapolis, Minn.) combined for 36 points on 8-of-14 from three-point land, but it was not enough as Southwest Minnesota State University outlasted the Beavers in 63-54 Northern Sun Intercollegiate action Friday at the BSU Gymnasium.

SMSU's Matt Fletcher single-handedly kept the Mustangs within an arms reach of the Beavers all night and his seven second half triples and career-high 28 points, gave SMSU what it would need to sink BSU down the stretch.

In addition to Evans and Haake, BSU wasn't able to generate much offensively. Alex Smith (Jr., F, Miami, Fla.), Marques Ramos (Jr., G/F, Henderson, Nev.) and Brandon Fields (Fr., PG, Los Angeles, Calif.) all garnered four points while Fields recorded a career-high six assists.

On the glass, Smith led all players with nine boards as Haake grabbed five to go with his game-high two steals.

SMSU got 11 points from Ryan Clome, who also led all players with seven assists, and nine from Jeremy VanKlompenburg to supplement Fletcher who generated nearly 45-percent of the Mustangs' score. Chad Orum hauled down a team-high seven rebounds as the Mustangs opened a 32-25 advantage on the glass en route to the win.

The first half played into the hands of the Beavers. Although BSU only shot 32-percent, hitting 8-of-25 shots, Bemidji State was able to stay in the game with the help of timely long-range shooting, good defense and patience on offense.

The teams felt each other out during the first three minutes trading baskets and the lead. But when SMSU's Fletcher broke a 7-7 tie with a layup 3:03 into the half, the advantage when to the Mustangs until the horn sounded at the break.

SMSU stretched its lead to as many as six two times in the first stanza, but could not shake the pesky Beavers.

The teams would go into the intermission with the score at 28-23 in favor of the Mustangs.

Haake and Evans got the Beavers going quick as the second half got underway. In a matter of 2:11, the pair had combined for three triples to turn a five-point deficit into a four point BSU lead.

Bemidji State would go up by six points, 39-33, on an Evans layup with 12 minutes to go. But after a quick layup by VanKlompenburg and a BSU turnover on the ensuing possession, Fletcher hit a three-pointer to cut the Beavers' lead to just one point, 39-38, with 11:48 left on the clock.

During the next eight minutes, Fletcher would hit six consecutive three-pointers lifting SMSU to a five-point lead, 55-50, with 3:50 to go.

The Mustangs would add two quick baskets to increase their lead to nine points with 2:27 left, virtually ending any hopes of a BSU victory.

SMSU was 4-of-6 form the free-throw line down the stretch to ice the game and claim its 8th NSIC win, 63-58.

Southwest Minnesota State finished the night 22-of-44 (.477) from the field and 10-of-24 from beyond the arc (.417). The visitors were also 11-of-19 from the free-throw line (.579).

BSU used a 55-percent second half (12-22) to close the game at 20-of-47 (.426). While the Beavers made it to the free-throw line just six times in the game, they took advantage of those opportunities making good on all six attempts.

SMSU now leads the all time series 44-35 and completes the 2006-07 season-series sweep.

Bemidji State (2-17; 2-8 NSIC) will be back in action tomorrow when it hosts Wayne State College (11-8; 6-4 NSIC) in a 8 p.m. match-up at the BSU Gymnasium.