This Week: The Bemidji State University men’s basketball team is in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference action at the BSU Gymnasium Dec. 10-11, hosting No. 3 Winona State University and Upper Iowa University. BSU welcomes the Warriors at 8 p.m. Dec. 10 and the Peacocks at 6 p.m. Dec. 11.
Live stats at BSU:
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About Bemidji State: The Beavers are 4-2 overall and 1-1 in NSIC play after splitting the season opener at the BSU Gymnasium Dec. 3-4. BSU lost to MSU Moorhead 60-58 before beating-up on Minnesota, Crookston 88-63. The win against UMC was the 900th program win in the 88 seasons Bemidji State has competed in men’s basketball. Newcomer James Ellisor (F, Glendale, Ariz.) is averaging a team-best 17.2 points per game, adding a team-high 7.3 rebounds per contest and is shooting 56.7 percent from the floor.
• BSU is averaging 80.3 points per game, while allowing just 72.3 per contest to its opponents.
• The 4-2 record is the best six-game start to a season for BSU since the 1997-98 squad went 5-1.
• Senior Patrick Cassidy (F, St. Paul, Minn.) is averaging 14.2 points per game, entering the season he had a career average of 7.1 ppg.
• BSU’s 82.5 FT% is second in the NSIC (overall games).
About Winona State: The No. 3 Winona State Warriors are 5-0 this season after going 4-0 in nonconference play and picking up a win against its travel partner, Upper Iowa in the NSIC opener. WSU downed UIU 78-61 in Winona Dec. 4, getting 21 points from sophomore center Clayton Vette (Iowa State transfer). The Warriors are led by junior guard Anthony Tucker, a transfer from University of Iowa, who is averaging 20.8 points, shooting 50 percent from 3-point range.
Series History: The Beavers are 68-80 all-time against Winona State, but have the bragging rights after sweeping the season series last season for the first time since 2003-04. BSU won 88-87 in overtime in Winona and was victorious 88-86 in Bemidji. The win at the BSU Gymnasium was the first home victory against WSU since Jan. 8, 2005. The Warriors only lost seven NSIC games last season, two coming at the hands of the Beavers.
About Upper Iowa: The Upper Iowa Peacocks are 1-4 in 2010-11, owning a 1-3 record in nonconference play and suffering the NSIC opener loss to Winona State. UIU got its win against Valley City State (ND) by the score of 88-59. The Peacocks are averaging 68.0 points of offense per game, which stands 13th in the NSIC. They are led in scoring by senior guard Matt Lesan’s 18.2 points per game.
Series History: UIU and BSU are knotted at 4-4 in the all-time series, but the Peacocks own the last five meetings at a 4-1 clip. UIU won the lone contest between the teams last season 91-80 in Fayette, Iowa. The last Beaver victory came in the 2008-09 season in Bemidji, by the score of 75-70.
NSIC Preseason Poll: The Bemidji State University men’s basketball team finished last season winners in five of its last six games, en route to a 12-15 overall and 8-12 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference mark, good for 11th place in the final conference standings. The 12 wins was the most under fifth-year head coach Matt Bowen, as BSU has increased its win total in each of his seasons at the helm. On Oct. 20, the 2010-11 edition of the NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll was released, slotting the Beavers 10th with 64 points.
BSU’s NSIC Preseason Player to Watch: Patrick Cassidy is the lone senior on a team that sports four juniors (two transfers), eight sophomores and four freshmen. He will be asked to provide leadership on and off the court in 2010-11, while concentrating on being consistent offensively and defensively. Last season Cassidy played and started in 26 games, averaging 26.3 minutes per contest. He posted 8.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, while shooting 51.2 percent from the field. Cassidy has endured the growing pains of a Bemidji State basketball program that has improved its record in each of the last four seasons, going 12-15 last season. He has played in 80 games in the green in white, averaging 7.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per game, while shooting 48.1 percent from the field.
Making Strides: Head coach Matt Bowen has increased BSU’s win total every season over his past four years. The Beavers won five games in his first campaign, six in his second, eight in 2008-09 and 12 last season. In 2009-10, the eight NSIC victories the Beavers totalled was the most conference wins under Bowen.
Welcome to BSU: The Beavers welcome six newcomers to the squad this season, including two junior college transfers. Coming to Bemidji via Glendale Community College are James Ellisor and Ryan Kinnell. Four true freshmen join the squad from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Alaska in Zach Noreen (Albany HS, Minn.), Maxie Rosenbloom (Johnson HS, Minn.), Jake Schalow (Kaukauna HS, Wis.) and Jeff Whicker (King HS, Alaska).
In his first six games as a Beaver, Ellisor is leading the team in scoring with 17.2 points and 7.3 rebounds in 32.2 minutes, while shooting 56.7 percent from the field and going 24-for-27 from the charity stripe. He scored 25 points in the opener, adding a team-high six rebounds.
Doubling-Up: In the win against Finlandia, junior Bryce Tesdahl recorded his second-career double-double with a team-high 25 points and 10 assists. The 10 assists marks his third-career game with 10 or more helpers and ranks tied for ninth on the BSU single-game chart.
Ellisor followed-up against UW-Stout Nov. 23 with his first double-double as a Beaver, scoring 13 points and adding 11 rebounds.
Helping Hand: Last season Tesdahl finished second in the NSIC in assists, averaging 15.1 assists per game. He totaled 137 assists in the season, finishing third on BSU’s all-time single-season chart. His 257 career assists ranks 3rd on BSU’s career list (1976-present).
BSU’s Top Career Assist Totals (1976-Present)
# Assists Player Seasons
1. 314 David Lee 1984-88
2. 302 James Roberson 2003-05
3. 257 Bryce Tesdahl 2008-SA