ST CLOUD, Minn. -- A 17-8 run during the final 4:25 of regulation powered the Bemidji State University men’s basketball team to a 77-77 tie with less than 30 seconds remaining. A missed St. Cloud State Universiy shot sent the game into overtime, but the Beavers fell short in the extra session, losing the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference game at Halenbeck Hall 92-88.
The Beavers were led for the second game in a row by sophomore Lance Rongstad (F, Eleva, Wis.) who scored 27 points. Junior Bryce Tesdahl (G, Crosby, Minn.) recorded his second double-double of the season, scoring 12 points and adding 10 assists. His fifth assist came in the first half on a Rongstad lay-up and moved him past James Roberson on BSU’s modern era career assist list, ranking him second with 308 assists. He is now just seven helpers shy of establishing the career record.
The Huskies lead the majority of the first half owning a lead as large as nine before taking a 41-35 advantage into the locker room. The Beavers came out firing in the second half and used a 7-0 run to take the 42-21 edge just 1:20 into the frame.
The teams then traded buckets until SCSU went on a 6-0 run to earn a nine point advantage at 60-51 with 7:34 showing on the clock. The lead was just four at 55-51 with 12:47 left in the half, then SCSU Taylor’s Witt ended a three minute scoring drought by both teams with consecutive basketball to push the lead to nine.
The second bucket was a 3-pointer that forced BSU head coach Matt Bowen to take a timeout. After the break the teams traded baskets until the score read 68-59 with 4:25 remaining. The rest of the half was all Bemidji State as the Beavers went in a 17-8 run to close regulation and take the Huskies to overtime.
The dramatic end to the half included a sophomore Mason Walters (F, Milton, Wis.) lay-up and free throw to give BSU a lead with 1:39 left and then a cold-blooded 3-pointer from Tesdahl with 28 ticks showing on the clock knotted the game at 77-77 and ultimately pushed it to overtime.
In the exrta frame, the lead changed four times and it was tied four times before a jumper from Witt gave SCSU a 88-86 lead with 34 seconds remaining. With no shot clock BSU had the last chance to score, but a Rongstad jumper with 20 second left fell short and a scrum for the rebound resulted in a Tesdahl’s fifth and final foul of the game. Two free throws made it a two possession game and a junior Jake Lindstrom (G, Cottage Grove, Minn.) lay-up with seven seconds left proved to be not enough as the Huskies drained two more from the charity stripe to get out-of-reach for the visiting Beavers.
Walters scored 17 and added six rebounds, while junior James Ellisor (F, Glendale, Ariz.) had 14 points and eight boards. Sophomore Burke Lendl (G/F, St. Michael, Minn.) came off the bench to add 10 points and five rebounds. Tesdahl’s 10 assists in one shy of his career-high and the third time in his career he recorded 10. The mark ranks tied for ninth on BSU’s single-game assists chart. Witt finished with a game-high 31.
SCSU shot 49.2 percent from the floor and BSU shot 45.3 percent. Both teams made good on its time at the free throw line as BSU shot 12-of-26 (80.8%) and SCSU was 23-for-29 (79.3%)
The Beavers now face Concordia University, St. Paul in a NSIC match-up Jan. 15 at 6 p.m.
Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).