BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University men’s basketball team was a locomotive tearing up the tracks and the University of Mary were innocent bystanders stuck in the path Saturday as BSU snapped a seven-game losing streak with a decisive 81-59 victory in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference contest at the BSU Gymnasium.
“Our concentration level was much higher tonight,” said head coach Matt Bowen. “We moved the ball well and executed on both offense and defense and the results were obvious with our win tonight. With such a young group, we have to realize we need to concentrate, prepare and adapt for every game. Tonight we did that an hopefully we can take some positives away for the rest of the season.”
Senior Seth Haake (G, Eden Prairie, Minn.) led the team in scoring with 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field, while adding a team-high seven assists that tied his career-high. Freshman Lance Rongstad (G, Eleva, Wis.) scored 17 points, adding seven rebounds and three steals in his most complete game since BSU downed then-No. 17 Winona State 88-87 in overtime, Dec. 12. That win was the last before Saturday evening for BSU as they broke the month-long drought. Sophomore Bryce Tesdahl (G, Crosby, MInn.) had a game and career-high 10 rebounds, while adding eight points and five assists.
The Beavers (6-10, 3-7 NSIC) an Marauders (9-7, 5-4 NSIC) were tied 10-10 after the first five minutes of play, then BSU took over. A 11-2 run that took seven minutes put the Beavers in a commanding nine point lead. In the run, BSU got offensive production from five different players. U-Mary came back with a 11-6 run to make the score 27-23 with 3:30 remaining in the half. The Beavers then responded with a 9-4 stretch to close the half and own a 36-27 lead heading into the locker room. The final run was capped with an old fashioned three-point play from Tesdahl with four seconds on the clock. BSU earned a lot of its points on lay-ups in the first half, dominating the paint with 22 points to U-Mary’s 10.
In the second half, it didn’t take long for BSU to close the deal, as it used a 13-6 run in the first five minutes of the second half to gain a 16 point lead. It was a 20 point lead at the 13:26 mark on a lay-up from freshman Burke Lendl (F, St. Michael, Minn.). The lead never dipped below 20 points for the remainder of the contest, en route to the 22 point victory, the largest in conference play for BSU since defeating University of Minnesota, Crookston 82-60 on Feb. 4, 2006 in Crookston.
BSU had its second best shooting night of the season at a 59.2 clip. The best free throw shooing team in the conference went 17-of-21 (81%) in the game. The Beavers also recorded their third game with 20 or more assists, going 3-0 in those contests. Freshman forward David Berthene (Lakeville, Minn.) scored 12 points. Freshman Mason Walters (G/F, Milton, Wis.) earned his third consecutive start and scored nine points, adding six rebounds. BSU played all 10 of its players on the active roster in the game.
The Beavers complete their conference 3-game homestand with the University of Minnesota Duluth Jan. 23 at 4 p.m. in the BSU Gymnasium.
State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II
institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference