Despite only shooting .403 (25-62) to Wayne State’s .471 (24-51) the Beavers were able to hang in the game by playing sound defense forcing the Wildcats into 17 turnovers while the Beavers committed just 12 in the game. BSU netted 17 points off of the Wildcats turnovers while Wayne State netted just nine points off BSU's turnovers.
Bemidji State’s Brady Fairbanks (Fr., G, Bena, Minn.) sparked the Beaver offense as he netted 16 points in the game shooting 6-of-13 and making four of the Beavers seven three point field goals. Seth Haake (So., G, Eden Prairie, Minn.) and Evans joined Fairbanks in double-figures as they each had 12 points, respectively. Evans netted six of his 12 points in the final forty-five seconds of the game. Sergej Baskow (So., F, Ludwigsburg, Germany) and Alex Smith (Jr., C, Miami, Fla.) each grabbed seven rebounds in the contests.
The duo of Bryce Caldwell and Jamar Diggs led the Wildcat attack as Caldwell netted a game-high 22 points, 16 of which came in the first half while Diggs netted 18 points, 12 of which were scored in the first half of play. Matt Rathje also finished in double-figures as he netted 11 points. Diggs and Rathje grabbed seven rebounds apiece to lead the Wildcats on the glass.
In the early goings both teams traded baskets as there were four lead changes in the first 2:52 of the game. With the score 7-6 in favor of the Wildcats the Beavers went on a 14-to-5 run to build their lead to eight points at 20-12 with 10:47 left in the half. Fairbanks started the run with a tripple putting the Beavers ahead 9-7. Wayne State then went on a 10-0 run to regain the lead at 22-20. The 10 point run took the Wildcats just 1:10 as Diggs netted two lay-ups and Caldwell capped the run with back-to-back three pointers.
BSU tied the game back up at 22-22 on a jumper by Smith but would be out scored 18-11 to close out the half and go into halftime down by seven points (40-33).
In the first half both teams shot 13-27 (.481) from the field but Wayne State made seven more free-throws than the Beavers to give them the seven point advantage.
At the start of the second half Wayne State garnered its largest lead of the game at nine points on a Eric Johnson lay-up with 17:44 left in the game. The Wildcats pushed its lead to eight points (60-52) with a lay-up by Matt Rathje with 10:26 left in the game.
From then on the comeback was on for the Beavers. Fairbanks cut the Wildcat lead to five points on his fourth three pointer of the game to bring the Beavers as close as they had been to Wildcats since 19:35 of the second half. BSU cut the Wildcat lead to two points at 64-62 with 4:56 left in the game, but the Beavers went cold and did not score again until there was just :35 second left on the clock.
With :45 second remaining in the game and the Beavers down by five points (67-62) it looked as if the Beavers were going to dropped its second game in a row. But Arron Evans had different thoughts, two possessions in a row Evans broke down his man and was able to get to the hoop for consecutive lay-ups and to bring BSU to just a one point deficit at 67-66 with :29 second remaining. With :21 second Evans committed a foul to put Bryce Caldwell at the line who was 6-for-8 going into the free-throw attempt. Caldwell would miss the front end of the one-and-one and Haake grabbed the rebound to give the Beavers a chance to go ahead for the first time since the 9:37 mark of the first half.
The ball once again went in the hands of Evans and he for the thrid consecutive possession penetrated into the lane and made a off balanced jumper to put the Beavers up 68-67. The Wildcats had one last opportunity to win the game. The Wildcats put the ball in the hands of their play maker Jamar Diggs. Diggs jumper came up short and the Beavers were able to steal the one point victory, 68-67.
With the win the Beavers improve their record to 3-2 over the last eight days.
“It has been a good stretch, said head coach Matt Bowen. We’ve played five games in eight days, that is a lot of basketball and to have a winning week (3-2) is good.”
With the win the Beavers improve to 13-21 all-time versus WSC. The Beavers are on a two-game winning streak over the Wildcats.
Bemidji State (3-5; 1-1 NSIC) will be in action next weekend as the Beavers will travel to Moorhead, Minn., and St. Paul, Minn., to take on the MSU Moorhead Dragons on Dec. 7 and the Concordia-St. Paul Golden Beavers on Dec. 8. Both games are slated for an 8:00 p.m. start.
Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).