Beavers pick up exhibition win over Falcons, 80-61
Saturday, November 10, 2007
RIVER FALLS, Wis. (Karges Center) -The Bemidji State University men’s basketball team beat the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in its last exhibition contest of the season at the Karges Center in River Falls, Wis, 80-61. The win marks the first exhibition win for the Beavers in its last eight tries, and the first exhibition win under second year head coach Matt Bowen.

Bemidji State built a 19-point halftime lead and scored 44 first half points, the most in the three exhibition games to pick up its first win of the exhibition season and improve its record to 1-2 in the preseason. The Beavers put on a full court press midway through the first half to force the Falcons into 16 first half turnovers and to go on a 22-11 run in the last 6:06 of the first half to build the 19-point lead at halftime (44-25). The Beavers continued to apply pressure in the second half and were able to coast to the 19-point win over UW-River Falls, their largest win since Dec. 12, 2005 when the Beavers beat South Dakota, 101-80.

Bemidji State was led offensively by Patrick Cassidy (Fr., F, St. Paul, Minn.) and Seth Haake (So., G, Eden Prairie, Minn.). Cassidy netted 12 points on 3-or-4 shooting from the field and 5-of-6 from the free throw line, his best outing wearing the green and white while Haake also had 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting, 3-of-4 from behind the three-point arc. Arron Evans (Sr., G, Minneapolis, Minn.) and Brady Fairbanks (Fr., G, Bena, Minn.) were also in double-digits as they each netted 10 points in the contest. Jimmy Johnson (Fr., C, Andover, Minn.) and Haake led the Beavers on the boards as they each hauled in five rebounds apiece and while Kyle Scott (Jr., G, Phoenix, Ariz.) dished out five assists.

The Beavers shot its highest percentage from the field in its three exhibition games as the Beavers shot nearly 53 percent (29-55) while their counterparts shot under 30 percent for the game at 28.6 (14-49).

UW-River Falls was led by the duo of Jontae Koonkaew and Willie Wright as they each had 12 points in the game. Courtney Davis was also in double figures for the Falcons as he netted 10 points. Scott Kelly and Willie Wright each grabbed eight rebounds apiece to control the glass for the Falcons while DiJon Reese dished out two of the Falcons three assists in the game.

Both teams got off to a slow start as the teams combined to score just 20 points in the first 10:14 of the game. The Beavers jumped out to a 3-0 lead on a three point play by freshman Patrick Cassidy (Fr., F, St. Paul, Minn.). The Falcons took its first lead of the game as they went on a 5-0 run to take a 5-3 lead early in the contest. Cassidy helped the Beavers regain the lead as he scored five of the Beavers next seven points to help the Beavers attain a 10-8 lead with 13:16 left in the half.

The Beavers held the lead the remainder of the half and went on a 34-17 run to close out the first half. The Beavers held the Falcons to just three field goals the remainder of the half and just a total of six the whole half to help build its lead. BSU shot 53.6 percent in the half (15-18) while the Falcons shot 25 percent (6-24).

In the second half the Beavers built their lead to as large as 23 points but the Falcons would not fold as they went on a 9-to-1 run to cut the Beaver lead to 15 points at 58-73 with 3:54 left in the game. The Beavers held off the Falcons rally as that was as close as UW-River Falls would get as BSU pushed their lead back to 19-points by the end of the contest to secure its first exhibition win of the season.

Brady Fairbanks (Fr., G, Bena, Minn.) and Sergej Baskow (So., F, Ludwigsburg, Germany) led the Beavers in scoring in the second half as Fairbanks scored eight of his 10 points shooting 3-for-6 from the field while Baskow was 2-of-4 scoring six of his eight points in the second half.

With the win the Beavers improve to 5-4 all-time versus the Falcons from UW-River Falls and they pick up its first win ever on the campus of UW-River Falls to improve to 1-4 at the Karges Center. The Beavers are currently on a two game winning streak over the Falcons with the Beavers last win coming on Jan. 27, 1992 (88-73)

The Beavers will open their season on Nov. 16-17 when they will play in the St. Cloud Tournament. The Beavers draw the St. Cloud State University Huskies on Friday Nov. 16 at 8:00 p.m. and then will wrap up the tournament on Saturday, Nov. 17 versus the University of Nebraska-Omaha at 6:00 p.m.