FARGO, N.D. (Bison Sports Arena) -– The Bemidji State University men’s basketball team opened its 2007-08 exhibition season traveling to Fargo, N.D. to face NCAA Division I opponent North Dakota State University. The Bison defeated the Beavers 80-56 on Halloween night at the Bison Sports Arena.
The main difference between the Beavers and the Bison tonight was the turnovers and points in the paint. North Dakota State forced 26 turnovers while committing just 13 of their own which led to 28 points off turnovers for the Bison while the Beavers managed just 14 points of its opponents mistakes. The North Dakota State big men also played a key role in tonight match as the Bison outscored the Beavers by 14 points in the paint (42-28) in the game.
Bemidji State was led by Seth Haake (So., G, Elk River, Minn.) who was the lone Beaver record double-digit points with 16. He was 6-for-9 from the floor (.666) and 3-for-5 from behind the arc (.600) while adding four assists in 21 minutes of play. Freshman Jimmy Johnson (Andover, Minn.) netted seven points in his first game wearing the green and white while pulling down five rebounds with a pair of blocked shots. Alex Smith (Jr., F, Miami, Fla.) posted a game-high seven rebounds in his 19 minutes of work for the Beavers.
North Dakota State was led by the duo of Brett Winkelman and Mike Nelson. Winkelman netted 21 points while Nelson chipped in with 19 for the Bison. Freddy Coleman was the third Bison to score in double-digits as he added 12 points in the game. Austin Pennick and Eric Carlson led the Bison on the boards as they each hauled in five rebounds apiece.
It took the Beavers a few minutes to shake the rust off and adjust to the flow of the game. After just 2:19, BSU found itself in a 6-2 hole after four early fouls and a turnover. BSU’s Arron Evans (Sr., G, Minneapolis, Minn.) brought the Beavers within 6-5 on a three pointer with the assist going to Haake. The Bison went on a 8-1 run over the next 2:00 to push its lead to 13-6 with Brett Winkelman and Sam Sussenguth each notching three points apiece during the run.
BSU came back and went on a 8-0 run to take its first and only lead of the game. Johnson got things started for the Beavers with a layup at the 13:51 mark. The combination of a pair of free throws by Patrick Cassidy (Fr., F, St. Paul, Minn.), a jumper by Kyle Scott (Jr., G, Phoenix, Ariz.) and a tip-in by Mychael Aker (Sr., G, Perham, Minn.) gave the Beavers a 14-13 lead with 12:38 left in the half.
The Beavers lead lasted :59 seconds as Winkelman’s layup helped the Bison regain the lead at 15-14. The Bison pushed its lead back to five points at 22-17, but the Beavers continued to play hard as they would close the gap to four points (27-23) on a free throw by Johnson with 6:20 left in the half. The Bison closed out the half on a 12-7 run and increased their lead to nine points going into the half.
The second half began with the Bison scoring the first eight points of the half to extend their lead to 17 points (47-30) just two minutes into the half. Haake would stop NDSU’s run as he nailed a shot from behind the arc to cut the deficit to 14 points (47-33). The 14 point deficit was as close as the Beavers were able to get in the second half.
In the second half the North Dakota State University Bison were just to much for the young Bemidji State University squad as NDSU outscored the Beavers 41-26 in the second half to secure the 80-56 victory.
The win gives NDSU a 15-6 advantage in the all-time series over the Beavers in a series that got its start on Dec. 18, 1940. BSU is now 0-13 all-time versus NCAA Division I programs including an 0-6 mark during the last four seasons.
The Beavers continue exhibition play Sunday when they travel to Cedar Falls, Iowa to rekindle a series with the Northern Iowa University Panthers in a 3:05 p.m. contest from the McLeod Center. The Beavers officially get their season underway Nov. 16-17 when they draw St. Cloud State University and University of Nebraska-Omaha in the St. Cloud State Tournament hosted by SCSU in St. Cloud, Minn.
Beavers fall in 2007-08 exhibition opener to NDSU, 80-56