MADISON, Wis. -- The long awaited start to the 2009-10 season ended Wednesday night for the Bemidji State University men’s basketball team, as the Beavers started the campaign with a 90-54 exhibition loss to the Division I University of Wisconsin in the Kohl Center. The Beavers were led by junior guard /forward Brady Fairbanks (Bena, Minn.), who posted 14 points on 6-12 shooting from the field and 2-4 from beyond the arc.
“First off I would like to thank Bo Ryan and the University of Wisconsin for the opportunity for us to play here,” said head coach Matt Bowen. “Wisconsin didn’t do anything to beat themselves. They dictated play, got to the foul line and played help defense. We weren’t efficient or strong enough to stay with them, but I thought we had some runs where we played great defense.”
All 13 available Beavers saw time on the court in the game. The Beavers only lost the second half 44-32 after a first half that saw UW dominate play with a 46-22 score. BSU shot 48.3 percent in the second half after posting a 30.8 percent performance in the first. Fouls were the killer for BSU in the game, giving the Badgers 32 free throws, while only shooting five of its own. The Wisconsin big men and company controlled the glass, outrebounding BSU 44-24 with 14 offensive rebounds. UW scored 46 points in the paint to the Beavers’ 14.
Both the Beavers and the Badgers showed signs of rust and first game kinks as the two teams had a combined three turnovers and five personal fouls in the game’s first 4:32. At that point, Wisconsin was ahead 12-4, outrebounding BSU 5-0 and owning a 4-0 advantage in assists. The Beavers hung with Badgers through the first 10 minutes, but the Wisconsin offense came alive in the final half of the frame. Beaver fouls didn’t help the road team’s cause, as BSU put the Badgers in the bonus with 11:36 left in the half. UW went out and grabbed a 24-13 lead with 7:44 remaining and extended its lead with a 9-0 run in which BSU failed to get a shot off in four of six possessions. Junior guard Tyler Wruck (St. Cloud, Minn.) finally ended the drought with a three-pointer with 5:09 left. Wisconsin extended its lead to 35-16 with 3.53 remaining, scoring 20 of those points in the paint. At half, the Beavers were trailing 46-22. UW had 26 points in the paint to BSU’s eight. The Badgers held a 10-0 advantage in fast break points and outshot the Beavers 53.1-30.8. Senior guard Seth Haake (G, Eden Prairie, Minn.) led BSU in scoring with six points on 2-5 shooting.
The Badger offense came out running in the first five minutes of the second half extending the lead to 62-29, while shooting 66.7 percent from the floor. The Beavers found a little rhythm on the floor in the middle of the second half, playing tough on both ends of the floor. From 12:23 left in the half to 7:09 remaining, BSU went on a 11-5 run, which included two steals and five points from Fairbanks. For most of the run the Beaver line-up included three freshman (forward David Berthene, guard/forward Mason Walters and guard Noah Shepherd), Faribanks and Haake. The Beavers continued to play hard through the final minutes of the game, putting a all freshman class line-up into the game to close out the final two minutes.
Bowen’s Exhibition Record
Nov. 4, 2009 Wisconsin Madison, Wis. L, 90-54
Nov. 11, 2008 Indiana Bloomington, Ind. L, 72-54
Oct. 31, 2007 North Dakota State Fargo, N.D. L, 80-56
Nov. 4, 2007 Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, Iowa L, 79-61
Nov. 10, 2007 UW-River Falls River Falls, Wis. W, 80-61
Nov. 3, 2006 Minnesota Minneapolis, Minn. L, 88-32
The Beavers complete exhibition action Nov. 8 at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, N.D. at 3 p.m.
Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).