BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University men’s basketball team picked-up its 10th win of the season Tuesday at the BSU Gymnasium with a 99-67 win against Finlandia University. The last time BSU surpassed the 10-win mark was the 2005-06 season.
“It was a good game for us,” said head coach Matt Bowen. “We were able to get our young guys a lot of time, which is good because we have had so many injuries. It was great to get up and down the floor and hopefully we can carry this momentum into Saturday’s game with Winona State.”
The Beavers (10-14, 6-11 NSIC) shot a season-high 63.5 percent from the floor and 58.3 percent from 3-point land. Six BSU players scored in double-figures, led by senior guard Seth Haake’s (Eden Prairie, Minn.) 22 points, his eighth game this season with 20-plus points. He also added five steals and five rebounds. Freshman Burke Lendl (F, St. Michael, Minn.) started his fifth consecutive game and scored a career-high 17 points, going 5-of-6 from the field and 5-of-6 from the free throw line, all of which tie or establish his career-highs. He added a team-high six rebounds. Freshmen David Berthene (F, Lakeville, Minn.) and Mason Walters (G/F, Milton, Wis.) each tallied 14 points, which tied a career-high for Walters. Berthene added five rebounds and three assists, while Walters went 7-of-8 from the charity stripe. Freshmen Lance Rongstad (G, Eleva, Wis.) and Noah Shepherd (G, Minneapolis, Minn.) scored 12 points, establishing a career-high for Shepherd, who was perfect from all over the floor, 4-of-4 from the field and 2-of-2 from beyond the arc and the free throw line.
Sophomore guard Bryce Tesdahl (Crosby, Minn.) only scored four points, but dished-out 10 assists in 22 minutes of play. That mark is the second time this season he has surpassed 10 assists in a game and is tied for ninth on BSU’s single game assists chart. His 118 assists this season is seventh on BSU’s season list and the 203 career assists sits eight on the school’s all-time list. The Beavers had 22 assists, creeping past 20 assists for the fourth time this season, moving to 4-0 when accomplishing the feat. All eight active players saw at least 20 minutes on the court, including freshman Jon Krebs (G, Mahtomedi, Minn.) who surpassed his career-high in minutes played with 21. Junior forward Patrick Cassidy (St. Paul, Minn.) did not play due to an injury suffered Feb. 13 against University of Minnesota, Crookston. BSU had 42 rebounds, the most since Jan. 8 when it matched that total against Concordia University, St. Paul.
The Beavers started the game slow, going down 4-8 three minutes into the game. The Lions were able to maintain the lead or stay tied through the first seven minutes, owning a lead as large as four at 12-16 with 14:27 remaining. The Beavers then rattled-off nine unanswered points to take a five-point lead with 12:03 left in the half. Haake had five points in the stretch. Finlandia ended the run with a lay-up to make the score 21-18, but BSU continued to roll and posted a 10-2 run to take its first double-digit lead of the game at 31-20 with 9:46 left in the frame. During that run, Walters had five points and Shepherd knocked-down a 3-pointer, with Haake adding a couple of free throws. The road team would go on to score just seven points for the remainder of the half and the Beavers continued to shoot lights-out. By halftime, BSU owned a 51-27 lead.
Bemidji State must have had the heat cranked-up in the locker room because they came out just as hot as they were in the first half, taking the first four minutes of the frame to increase the lead to 30. The advantage reached its peak at 39 after a Haake lay-up with 9:22 left. Soon after, the Beavers went with all freshmen on the floor. Those freshmen put on a show, getting a dunk from Berthene and Shepherd on back-to-back possessions. The young five maintained the 30 point lead for the rest of the half, en route to the 32-point victory.
The Beavers host their final home game of the season in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference battle with Winona State University, Feb. 20 at 4 p.m. The game will serve as senior day for Haake and will also be fan appreciation day.
Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).