Beavers host Augustana and Wayne State
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Beavers host Augustana and Wayne State
This Week: The Bemidji State University men’s basketball team returns home for the first time since Dec. 12 to play host to Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference-foes Augustana College and Wayne State College Jan. 8-9, respectively. Both games are scheduled to tip-off at 4 p.m. at the BSU Gymnasium.      
About Bemidji State:
The Beavers are 6-5 overall and 3-4 in NSIC play to sit in a tie for 10th in the league. BSU earned a decisive 101-76 victory at Minnesota Duluth Jan. 3 in its first game back from holiday break. The Beavers jumped out to a 10-0 lead and never looked back, en route to shooting 66 percent from the field. Six players scored in double-figures, led by senior Patrick Cassidy’s season-high 22 points. Sophomore Mason Walters recorded his first-career double-double with career-highs in points (19) and rebounds (11). Sophomore Lance Rongstad had his second-career double-double with 11 points and a career-high 13 rebounds.  
• BSU is No. 3 nationally (as of Jan. 2) in free throw shooting this season, hitting a 80.4 percent clip from the line.
• Junior Bryce Tesdahl is first in the NSIC and seventh in the nation in assists, dishing out 6.1 per game.
• Junior James Ellisor is leading the team in scoring (17.8 ppg) and rebounding (6.5 rpg) this season.
• Cassidy is averaging 13.7 points per game, nearly doubling his career average of 7.1 ppg.  
• In NSIC games this season, sophomore Mason Walters ranks 8th in FG% (53.7%) and 22nd in points per game (13.4).

About Augustana: The Vikings are 7-5 overall and 4-4 in the NSIC, good for a three-way tie for seventh. Augie snapped a two-game skid against Concordia, St. Paul Jan. 4 with a 75-65 victory. The Vikings started conference play 0-2, but rebounded with a three-game winning streak. Junior Cody Schilling and sophomore Cameron McCaffrey are leading the team with 17.8 points per game.

Series History: The Beavers and Vikings have met 10 times with Augie owning a 6-4 advantage. Last season, BSU fell 80-73 at the BSU Gymnasium. The Vikings have the best of the Beavers in the last five meetings, going 4-1.   

About Wayne State: The Wildcats are 8-4 overall and 4-4 in the NSIC to sit in a three-way tie for seventh in the league. WSC ended a two-game losing streak with a 69-53 home victory against St. Cloud State Jan. 4. The win was the first for the Wildcats against SCSU since 2005. Amry Shelby’s 15.8 points per game is leading the team. He is shooting 48.8 percent from the field and 89.9 percent from the line this season.

Series History: Bemidji State is 13-26 all-time against WSC and have lost the last five meetings, with the last win coming Dec. 1, 2007. BSU lost the last game of 2009-10 in Wayne 91-48, snapping BSU’s five-game winning streak.

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, 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 11 games as a Beaver, Ellisor is leading the team in scoring with 17.8 points and 6.5 rebounds in 30.7 minutes, while shooting 57.0 percent from the field and going 45-for-53 (84.9%) 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. This season, three players have combined for nine games with 20 points or more.

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

Century Mark:
The Beavers eclipsed the 100 point mark Jan. 3 in a 101-76 road rout of Minnesota Duluth. The accomplishment marked the 57th time in program history and third time under head coach Matt Bowen BSU has reached the century mark. It was just the 11th time the team has scored 100 points or more on the road.

Doubling-Up: Four different Beavers have combined for five double-doubles this season. Last season the team produced just two.
• Junior Bryce Tesdahl recorded his second-career double-double with a team-high 25 points and 10 assists at Finlandia Nov. 17.
• Junior James Ellisor recorded his first double-double as a Beaver versus UW-Stout Nov. 23, 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.
• Sophomore Mason Walters earned his first-career double-double Jan. 3 at Minnesota Duluth, posting career-highs in points (19) and rebounds (11).
• Sophomore Lance Rongstad recorded a career-high 13 rebounds at Minnesota Duluth Jan. 3, while adding 11 points for his second-career double-double.

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 289 career assists ranks third on BSU’s career list (1976-present). On Nov. 17 he recorded 10 assists, marking his third-career game with 10 or more helpers, ranking tied for ninth on the BSU single-game chart.

BSU’s Top Career Assist Totals (1976-Present)
#    Assists    Player    Seasons

1.    314    David Lee    1984-88
2.    302    James Roberson    2003-05
3.    289    Bryce Tesdahl    2008-SA

Thanks for the Charity: The Beavers are the No. 3 team in the Division II nation in free throw percentage (as of the Jan. 2 NCAA Statistics Summary), shooting 80.4 percent from the charity stripe. James Ellisor’s 86.7 percent guides the team and is 59th in the nation. Bryce Tesdahl’s 84.9 percent from the line ranks 78th.  

Battle for the Boards: In all six of BSU’s wins this season it has outrebounded its opponent and owns a 6-1 record when doing so. But one category the Beavers are lost in this season is the offensive glass. BSU is getting outrebounded 135-78 in offensive rebounds, resulting in a difference of 114-88 in second chance points.

Stay Inside the Arc: In conference play, the Beavers are the top team in the league in field goal percentage, making 49.7 percent of their shots. On the other side of the 3-point line the same BSU squad is dead last, shooting 28.1 percent from beyond the arc. In the league rankings (conference only), the Beavers have three players in the top eight in field goal percentage, Patrick Cassidy (3rd, 58.8%), James Ellisor (5th, 57.1%) and Mason Walters (8th, 53.7%).   

Road Warriors: BSU is 4-2 on the road this season. The last time the Beavers finished the season with an above .500 record on the road was when the 2003-04 team went 9-6 away from the BSU Gymnasium. The Beavers are outscoring their opponent on the road 82.7-77.3 in 2010-11.

Avoid the Losing Streak:
Last season the Beavers went on a seven game losing streak from Dec. 13-Jan. 15, thwarting their chances at a playoff spot and resulting in a 4-10 record when losing the game before. This season, BSU has been able to stop the bleeding by owning a 4-1 record when losing the previous contest.