BSU begins new year at Minnesota Duluth Jan .3
Friday, December 31, 2010
BSU begins new year at Minnesota Duluth Jan .3
This Week: The Bemidji State University men’s basketball team begins 2011 with a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference battle with its travel partner, University of Minnesota Duluth, Jan. 3 at 8 p.m. at the Romano Gymnasium. The game was moved from Jan. 2 due weather conditions.      
About Bemidji State: The Beavers are 5-5 overall and 2-4 in NSIC play after going on the road and getting a split in their first Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference road action of the season. The Beavers defeated Northern State University 92-86 Dec. 17 before running into a defensively sound University of Mary team that downed BSU 78-56 the next night. Junior James Ellisor scored a season-high 27 points in the game against NSU, while junior Bryce Tesdahl dished out a career-tying 11 assists. Both teams shot 44 free throws, with BSU making 34. U-Mary’s Anthony Moody help guide the Marauders past the Beavers, scoring 30 points. U-Mary shot 64 percent in the first half to BSU’s 30.8%. The Marauders ended the game shooting 59.3%. The 92 points is the most by the Beavers this season, while the 56 against U-Mary is the lowest.

• BSU’s 83.4 free throw percentage is No. # in NCAA Division II.
• James Ellisor has scored 20 points or more six times this sesaon.
• Senior Patrick Cassidy is averaging 12.9 points per game, nearly doubling his career average of 7.1 ppg.  
• In conference games this season, sophomore Mason Walters ranks 10th in the NSIC in FG% (53.2%) and 15th in 3-point% (47.1%).

About Minnesota Duluth: The Bulldogs were picked to finish 12th in the NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll, but currently sit in a tie for first place with a 5-1 conference record. UMD is 7-3 overall, stunning then-No. 3 Winona State University 75-72 Dec. 11 at the Romano Gymnasium. The Bulldogs are touting a perfect 6-0 home record this season, outscoring its opponents 74.8-63.2 in those games. Dec. 17-18 UMD earned the same conference split at BSU, losing its first conference game 68-54 to U-Mary, before rebounding and beating Northern State 89-78. The Bulldogs are led by junior Ryan Rasmussen’s 17.2 points per game. His 22.0 points per NSIC contest leads the league. Sophomore Jake Hottenstine is averaging 12.3 points and a team-leading 5.4 rebounds per game.

Series History: The Beavers and Bulldogs have a storied history that dates back to the 1930-31 season. BSU won that game 28-26, but UMD has the all-time series advantage 82-37. Last season the Beavers swept the season series against the Bulldogs for the first time since 2001-02, handing head coach Matt Bowen his first two career victories against the Northern Minnesota-foe. At the Romano Gymnasium last season, BSU won 98-90, getting 36 points from Seth Haake to extend its winning streak to five games.   

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 10 games as a Beaver, Ellisor is leading the team in scoring with 18.4 points and 6.8 rebounds in 32.6 minutes, while shooting 56.9 percent from the field and going 39-for-45 (86.7%) from the charity stripe. He scored 25 points in the opener, adding a team-high six rebounds.

Roaring 20’s: Ellisor has six games scoring the 20’s, including a 27 point performance in a win against Northern State Dec. 17. Last season BSU had 15 games with an individual in the 20’s, led by Seth Haake’s eight.

900 Program Wins: In a 88-63 victory against Minnesota, Crookston at the BSU Gymnasium Dec. 4 the Beavers recorded their 900th program win.

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. His second double-double came in an 83-80 loss to Upper Iowa Dec. 11, scoring 21 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. This season he leads the league in assists and currently, his 284 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.    284    Bryce Tesdahl    2008-SA

Thanks for the Charity:
The Beavers are the No. 1 team in the Division II nation in free throw percentage (as of the Dec. 12 NCAA Statistics Summary), shooting 88.4 percent from the charity stripe. James Ellisor’s 88.6 percent guides the team and is 44th in the nation. Bryce Tesdahl’s 87.2 percent from the line ranks 61st.  

Battle for the Boards: In all five of BSU’s wins this season it has outrebounded its opponent and owns a 5-1 record when doing so. But one category the Beavers are lost in this season is the offensive glass. BSU is getting outrebounded 125-71 in offensive rebounds, resulting in a difference of 105-76 in second chance points.