Bemidji State upset falls short to Northern State, 61-57
Friday, February 16, 2007
BEMIDJI, Minn. (BSU Gymnasium) -- The Bemidji State University men's basketball team challenged Northern State University from wire to wire, putting itself in a position to knock of the Wolves in the the game's final moments, but fell short, 61-57, in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play Friday at the BSU Gymnasium.

The Beavers' defense had the Wolves on their heels all night long holding the NSIC's leading three-point shooting team to just 5-of-19 from downtown (.263) and 19-for-54 from the field (.352), but NSU made up for its shooting woes at the free-throw line out scoring BSU 18-3 draining 81 percent of its opportunities (18-22).

Down the stretch, the Wolves capitalized on costly BSU fouls and turnovers to gain the hard-fought conference battle.

The trio of Brandon Fields (Fr., PG, Los Angeles, Calif.), Arron Evans (Jr., G, Minneapolis, Minn.) and Alex Smith (F, Miami, Fla.) each netted 12 points to led the charge of the Beavers while Serge Baskow (F, Ludwigsburg, Germany) led all players with eight rebounds as BSU crashed the glass for a 41-37 rebounding advantage. Smith helped BSU to match its season-high of six blocked shots turning away four on his own.

The Wolves were paced by Levi Hamilton who scored a game-high 15 points on 6-for-9 from the field and 3-for-6 from the free-throw line. Luke Wicks added 13 while Kevin Ratszch and Craig Nelson each chipped in 11 and recorded matching seven-rebound games.

Although BSU found itself down five early, 10-5, the team rallied together to score 15 consecutive points and grab a 20-10 lead by the 10-minute-mark.

With each basket, the Beavers' confidence grew fueling their defensive effort at the opposite end of the floor.

By halftime the team had weathered an NSU run and recorded nine of the final 11 points of the half to own a 32-23 lead heading into the locker rooms.

Just as BSU set the tone for the first half with its early play, NSU came out in the second with its own agenda.

The Wolves out scored BSU 18-7 during the first nine minutes to go up 47-39 with 10:51 on the clock.

The gritty Beavers would gnaw their way back into the game coming to within one-point, 54-53, with 4:40 to go. But junior NSU Luke Wicks would single-handedly make sure the Wolves gained a win netting three free-throws with 3:20 left to put the Wolves up by four, 57-53, and twice found a seam in the BSU defense as the shot clock ran down late in the game to hold the Beavers at bay.

BSU finished the game 23-of-63 (.365) from the field, 8-of-25 from beyond the arc and 3-of-4 from the free-throw line (.750).

The Beavers fall to 20-48 in the all-time series versus Northern State. NSU has now defeated BSU in the last three meetings between the teams.

Bemidji State (4-20; 4-11 NSIC) will be back in action tomorrow (Feb. 17) when it welcomes the University of Mary (8-17; 4-12 NSIC) for the pair's first conference match-up in the BSU Gymnasium. The game is slated for a 8 p.m. opening tip.