CROOKSTON, Minn. -- Freshman Lance Rongstad (G/F, Eleva, Wis.) scored a career-high 27 points and sophomore Bryce Tesdahl (G, Crosby, Minn.) had a career-high 22 to lead the Bemidji State University men's basketball team to an 81-64 victory at University of Minnesota, Crookston Saturday in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference game. The Beavers earn a conference road sweep for the first time this season and the first time in head coach Matt Bowen’s four years at BSU.
“We executed our game plan tonight,” Bowen said. “We effectively used our inside/out game and it led to lay-ups and high percentage shots. I’m proud of our effort and it feels good to get the road sweep.”
Rongstad hit a jumper on BSU’s first possession to give the Beavers a 2-0 lead and the road team never looked back. With 12:52 left in the half, BSU owned a 10-point advantage at 16-6 after two free throws from Tesdahl. UMC was able to cut the deficit to five with 10:47 remaining and the scoreboard showing 18-13. The Beavers then rattled-off seven unanswered points, getting five from Tesdahl and two from freshman David Berthene (F, Lakeville, Minn.). The Golden Eagles then scored the next six points to cut the Beaver lead to six, with 6:13 remaining. BSU then went on lockdown on defense and held UMC to only four points to close the half, while scoring 18 points from all areas of the floor, owning a 43-23 lead at the break. The Beavers shot 61.9 percent from the field in the first half and converted on 14-of-15 free throws. Rongstad had 17 of his 26 in the first half and Tesdahl had accumulated 15 points, six from the charity stripe.
The Beavers stretched their lead to 26 at 57-31 with 15:46 showing on the scoreboard, getting a 3-point bucket from senior Seth Haake (G, Eden Prairie, Minn.). The home team didn’t throw in the towel and worked its way back to a 12-point deficit with 8:45 remaining in regulation and the score at 64-52. Despite the soaring Golden Eagles’ effort, BSU wasn’t going to let the win get away and went on a 12-6 run to take an 18-point lead with 4:16 left. The Beaver lead never let the lead go below 16 for the rest of the contest, en route to the 81-64 victory.
Rongstad tied a career-high in field goals made with eight, established career-highs in free throws made (10) and free throws attempted (11). Tesdahl went a perfect 6-of-6 from the field, 1-for-1 from 3-point land and 9-for-11 from the free throw line, while tying a career-high with five steals. Haake scored 16 points and had a team-high six rebounds. The Beavers shot 51.1 percent from the field, surpassing the 50 percent mark for the first time since Jan. 16. From the free throw line, BSU was 29-of-34 (85.3%). The Beavers had 13 steals to tie their season-high.
BSU will host Finlandia University in a nonconference bout Feb. 16 at 7 p.m.