BEMIDJI, Minn. (BSU Gymnasium) -- Freshman forward Taylor Hall (Blaine, Minn.) set a new career-high with 29 points to help lead BSU out of a eight point deficit with 16:55 left in the game to shock Upper Iowa University, 75-70 at the BSU Gymnasium on Saturday night.
Upper Iowa got out of the gates quick as Dan Bestul hit a three just 1:47 into the game to give UIU an early 3-0 lead. Upper Iowa pushed its lead to five (10-5) by the 16:12 mark but a 9-0 run by the Beavers capped off by a Hall layup gave BSU its largest lead of the game (14-10) with 13:31 left in the half.
The teams traded baskets over the next 2:03 and with 11:28 left in the half the score was tied at 18-18. Bestul’s second three of the game sparked a 13-5 UIU run giving the Peacocks its largest lead of the game (34-23) with 6:39 remaining in the half. BSU battled back and went on its own 9-2 run to close the deficit to two points 34-32 with 4:13 left in the half but would not be able to regain the lead as UIU went into the half with a three point lead (43-40).
The difference in the half was three-point shooting as UIU knocked down five triples while BSU did not make a three-point shot in the half. The Beavers shot 40.9 percent in the first frame (13-26) led by Hall’s 15 first half points but were out scored 5-to-2 on second chance points to help the Peacocks gain a three point lead at the break.
The Peacocks came out strong in the second half building its lead to eight points it’s largest of the half with 16:55 remaining (49-41). With the Peacock lead at eight the Beavers started to cut into their lead as they went on a 19-11 run over a 6:50 span to tie the game for the third time in the game at 60-60 with 10:05 left in the game.
A Nick Kramer jumper gave the Peacocks a 63-61 lead and on the ensuing possession Hall sank his second three pointer of the game to give the Beavers its first lead since 12:13 mark of the first half (64-63). Hall pushed the Beavers lead to 65-63 as he went 1-for-2 at the foul line but the Peacocks would not give in as Bestul sank his third triple of the game to give UIU the lead again at 66-65.
The Beavers held the Peacocks scoreless during the final 2:02 of the game and despite struggling from the free-throw line all night were able to convert on timely free-throws down the stretch knocking down 6-of-8 free-throw attempts in the final 1:44 of the game to secure a 75-70 conference win. BSU finished the game 36-of-54 (.667) from the line while Upper Iowa was 20-of-23 (.870) from the stripe.
BSU’s 36 free throws made was a new team-high breaking BSU’s old team record of 31 set against Valley City and Northern State in 2001. The 54 free-throw attempts was also a new team-high which dates back to the 1972 season when the Beavers had 51 attempts against Michigan Tech.
Hall finished a career game netting a career-high eight field goals and two three points for a career-high 29 points. He also grabbed two rebounds and went 11-of-17 from the free-throw line. Joining Hall in double-figures was Patrick Cassidy (So., F, St. Paul, Minn.) and Jake Lindstrom (Fr., G, Cottage Grove, Minn.) who each had 13 points apiece. Cassidy’s 13 points was a season-high while Lindstrom tied his career-high. Jimmy Johnson (So., C, Andover, Minn.) grabbed a game and career-high eight rebounds. He also had a career-high four steals and a season-high three blocks.
The Peacocks were led the duo of Matt Lesan and Dan Bestul. Lesan led the Peacocks with 19 points on 2-of-12 from the field and 13-of-14 from the free-throw line. Dan Bestul added 16 points while grabbing a team-high eight rebounds matching that of teammate Chris Sullivan.
The Beavers shot 40.9 percent from the field (18-44) and 3-of-12 (.250) from behind the arc while the Peacocks were just 35.6 percent from the field (21-59) and 8-of-26 from behind the three-point line (.308).
Upper Iowa out rebounded the Beavers 38-32 in the game but committed seven more turnovers (15-8).
The win snaps a three game losing skid to the Peacocks in lifts BSU to 4-3 all-time versus Upper Iowa. BSU improves to 2-6 overall and 2-2 in the NSIC while Upper Iowa falls to 1-8 on the year and 0-4 in the NSIC.
BSU’s 2-2 conference record is the best start for a Beavers squad in conference play under head coach Matt Bowen and is the best start in the NSIC since the 2005-06 season when BSU was 2-2.
The Beavers will next be in action on Wednesday, Dec. 18 when BSU steps out of conference play to battle the Jamestown College Jimmies. BSU will be looking to avenge a 53-52 loss the Beavers suffered on Nov. 18 to the Jimmies. Game time is set for 7 p.m. from the Jamestown Civic Center in Jamestown, N.D.
Bemidji State University,
located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a
member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).