MARSHALL, Minn. -- In a game that had 14 lead changes and eight ties, the Bemidji State University men’s basketball team just couldn’t find a way to be on the winning end of a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference battle at the R/A Facility between the Beavers and Southwest Minnesota State University Saturday. BSU lost to the Mustangs 71-67.
In the first half, the Beavers (7-12, 4-9 NSIC) were able to move the ball well on offense against the Mustangs (11-8, 6-7 NSIC), getting easy buckets underneath. BSU scored 20 points in the paint and had 14 assists in the first frame. The first nine minutes of the game saw both teams running and gunning with the score knotted 18-18. After a BSU free throw gave the Beavers a 19-18 lead, the Mustangs went on a 5-0 run to grab the four point advantage. BSU then responded with a run of its own, rattling-off nine unanswered points to take a 28-23 lead with 4:25 showing on the clock. The Beavers got scoring from three different players in the run, including four from senior guard Seth Haake (Eden Prairie, Minn.). BSU continued to produce on the offensive end and play tight defense, increasing its lead to a game-high six when the halftime buzzer sounded at 37-31. Freshman Lance Rongstad (G, Eleva, Wis.) scored 12 points in the first half, but had to sit out the second half due to injury.
BSU was able to hold a small lead for the first 7:40 of the second half, but then SMSU’s shooters came alive and a Mustang 3-pointer gave the home team a two point lead at 48-46. The Beavers then responded with a 4-0 run to take a 52-48 lead off four points from sophomore guard Bryce Tesdahl (Crosby, Minn.) with 10:59 remaining. The game then proceeded to a see-saw match with each team going on mini-runs. From the 10:59 mark to the 4:34 mark, the lead changed four times and the game was tied three times. With 4:34 left, the game was tied 60-60. At 2:40 freshman Burke Lendl (F, St. Michael, Minn.) made the quickest and cleanest spin move of his young collegiate career in the lane to lay-up a bucket with the shot clock ticking away. The lead didn’t last long as two SMSU free throws tied the game at 62-62 with 2:13 reading on the clock.
WIth just three seconds left on the shot clock, SMSU made a 3-point bomb from three feet beyond the 3-point line to erupt the home crowd and give the Mustangs a 65-62 lead with 1:15 left. BSU tried to respond with a Lendl 3-point attempt, but it was off the mark and SMSU came down with the rebound. On its ensuing possession, the Beavers were called for a foul with 24 seconds showing on the clock. The Mustang shooter made the first shot, but missed the second. Unfortunately for BSU, the Mustangs tracked down the rebound and the Beavers were forced to foul. Deja vu occured on the second shooter as he missed the first and then off a miss, found his own rebound and was fouled. He made both to give the Mustangs a 69-62 lead with 18 seconds left. Haake came down the court and knocked-down a deep three to cut the deficit to four with 11 ticks remaining. BSU immediately fouled and put SMSU back on the line for two shots as BSU was in the bonus. He made both and Tesdahl raced down the court for two points. That wasn’t enough and BSU fell 71-67.
Tesdahl led the team in points with 16, rebounds with six and assists with seven, playing in 38 of the 40 minutes. Haake had 15 points and Rongstad and freshman Mason Walters (G/F, Milton, Wis.) posted 12. Walters added four assists and three rebounds. BSU shot 48.1 percent from the field in the game. SMSU shot just 38.3 percent from the field, but was 11-of-27 (40.7%) from 3-point land, marking the third consecutive game where BSU’s opponent landed 10 or more 3-pointers. BSU was outrebounded 45-23 overall and 19-3 on the offensive glass, leading SMSU to score 16 second chance points to BSU’s five. The Beavers only turned the ball over five times in the game, earning 11 takeaways and 14 points off turnovers. BSU owned the points in the pain category 36-24.
The Beavers return home Feb. 5-6 for two NSIC games, starting with Concordia University-St. Paul at 8 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).