BEMIDJI, Minn. (BSU Gymnasium) -- The Bemidji State University men’s basketball team was held to below 40-percent from the floor for just the fourth time this season and second night in a row Saturday dropping a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference contest to Southwest Minnesota State, 66-54, at BSU Gymnasium.
Southwest Minnesota State led from wire-to-wire holding a lead as large as 16 points in the first half forcing the Beavers to come from behind. But on this night, the Beavers struggled offensively and were out rebounded 44-28 making a come back unattainable.
SMSU opened the game scoring 11 of the first 13 points to take a 11-2 lead before the 14-minute mark. The Mustangs continued to apply heavy defensive pressure holding the Beavers to just 10 points through the first 13-minutes of the game pushing their lead to 16 (26-10) with 7:04 left in the first frame.
The Beavers offense slowly started to pick up in the final seven minutes of the half as they outscored SMSU 14-7 to close out the half, reeling the Mustangs in to within eight points by the time the halftime horn sounded (32-24).
The Mustangs came out of the break knocking down a three-pointer by Ryan Krome pushing its lead back over 10 points (35-24). The Beavers scored the next four points as back-to-back lay up by Taylor Hall (Fr., F, Blaine, Minn.) and Patrick Cassidy (So., F, St. Paul, Minn.) cut the Mustangs lead to seven (35-28) with 16:50 left to play.
BSU kept the Mustangs within reach closing the gap to seven three more times before the 10-minute mark, but a 8-1 run over the next 5:06 by SMSU gave the Mustangs a 14-point lead (56-42) with just 5:06 left to play. A pair of free-throws by Bryce Tesdahl (Fr., G, Crosby, Minn.) cut the lead to eight with 3:18 left to play, but that is as close at the Beavers would get as the Mustangs sealed the deal, knocking down 7-of-10 from the charity stripe down the stretch to secure the win, 66-54.
Seth Haake (Jr., G, Eden Prairie, Minn.) paced BSU for the seventh time this season with 10 points on 3-of-6 from the field and a perfect 2-of-2 from the three-point arc and from the line. Brady Fairbanks (So., G, Bena, Minn.), Jake Lindstrom (Fr., G, Cottage Grove, Minn.) and Hall each added eight points while Fairbanks and Cassidy grabbed six boards apiece.
SMSU had balanced scoring as a trio of Mustangs reached double-digits. Ryan Krome led the Mustangs with a game-high 14 points while Andy Beilke added 13 and Ross DeMasi chipped in 11. DeMasi also grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds for the game lone double-double. Jon DeRock dished out a game-high four assists for the Mustangs.
The Mustangs out rebounded and out shot the Beavers (41.1 to 37.5), but made the most of their free-throw opportunities draining 13-of-17 shooting better than 76 percent from the line on the night.
The loss drops BSU’s overall record to 7-13 while it is 5-8 in NSIC play. Southwest Minnesota State improves its record to 17-5 on the year and slides into a tie for first place in the conference with Winona State with a 10-3 record in league play.
With the loss the Beavers fall to 35-48 all-time versus the Mustangs and are currently on a six game losing slide to SMSU.
The Beavers will look to snap a four game losing streak next weekend when they travel to St. Paul, Minn. and St. Cloud, Minn. BSU will face Concordia University, St. Paul on Friday, Feb. 6 and St. Cloud State on Saturday, Feb. 7. Both games will tip off at 8 p.m.
State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II
institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference