This Week: The Bemidji State University men’s basketball returns home Jan. 28-29 for Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference contests versus University of Mary and Northern State University. Friday’s game begins at 8 p.m., while tip-off for Saturday is slated for 6 p.m.
Coaches vs. Cancer Suits & Sneakers Weekend: The Bemidj State and Northern State coaching staffs will be wearing sneakers Saturday in support of the Coaches vs. Cancer® Suits and Sneakers awareness weekend. This weekend, Jan. 28-30, basketball coaches nationwide will wear sneakers with their suits to demonstrate their support for the American Cancer Society and its vision of a world with less cancer and more birthdays. Basketball fans are encouraged to also wear sneakers to games that weekend. Coaches vs. Cancer is a collaborative initiative of the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) that empowers coaches, their teams and local communities to make a difference in the fight against cancer.
About Bemidji State: The Beavers are 7-10 overall and 4-9 in NSIC play to sit 12th in the league. BSU has fallen in its last four games, all on the road. Last weekend the Beavers fell to No. 15 Minnesota State and Southwest Minnesota State. BSU had a couple chances to take a late lead against MSU, but a couple turnovers handed the Mavericks a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. The Beavers shot a season-low 31.6 percent in the loss to SMSU. Junior Bryce Tesdahl averaged 9.5 points, 7.5 assists and 7.0 rebounds in the two games. His first assist against MSU established BSU’s career assists record (315), surpassing David Lee (1984-88). • The current four-game losing streak is the longest of the season.
• The Beavers are 7-2 when outrebounding their opponent.
• Junior Jake Lindstrom had a season-high 21 points versus MSU.
• Junior James Ellisor’s 16.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game leads the team. In the NSIC he ranks t9th in rebounding and 10th in scoring.
• BSU is No. 3 nationally (games thru Jan. 23) in free throw shooting this season, hitting at a 78.4 percent clip from the line. Sophomore Lance Rongstad is No. 36 nationally with a 87.5 percentage from the line.
• Tesdahl leads the NSIC and is 4th in the nation in assists, dishing out 6.3 per game. He has three 10+ assist games this season.
About University of Mary: The Marauders are riding a six-game winning streak and are winners of eight of their last nine, owning a 13-4 overall and a 9-4 NSIC record that is good for a four-way tie for second. During the winning streak, U-Mary is outscoring its opponent 70-58.3. Senior Anthony Moody is leading the conference in scoring with 20.3 points per game and leads the squad with 4.2 assists per game. Senior Eric Erdmann owns 14.8 points per game and a team-high 6.6 rebounds per contest.
Series History: U-Mary owns the all-time series against BSU 8-2. The Beavers are 1-4 in the last five contests, losing 78-56 earlier this season. BSU won the last game at the BSU Gymnasium 81-59, Jan. 16, 2010.
About Northern State: The Wolves are 7-10 overall with a 3-10 NSIC record that stands 13th. NSU is coming off a three-game homestand where it went 1-2, losing to U-Mary 68-65 Jan. 22. Sophomore Collin Pryor is the team’s leader in points (15.6 ppg) and rebounds (8.5 rpg). Junior David Lane is averaging 11.0 points per contest and his 5.6 assists per game ranks second in the NSIC.
Series History: BSU is 23-51 all-time against Northern State and are 2-3 in the last five games. The Beavers defeated NSU 92-86 earlier this season in Aberdeen. Last season, the Wolves downed BSU 67-65 on a last second shot in Bemidji.
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 17 games as a Beaver, Ellisor is leading the team in scoring with 16.2 points and 6.9 rebounds in 31.1 minutes, while shooting 55.2 percent from the field and going 54-for-68 (79.4%) 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, four players have combined for 11 games with 20 points or more, including sophomore Lance Rongstad’s 27 at St. Cloud State Jan. 14.
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 seven double-doubles this season. Last season the team produced just two.
• Junior Bryce Tesdahl recorded his second-career double-double with a team-high 23 points and 10 assists at Finlandia Nov. 17.
His second double-double of the season came in an overtime loss to St. Cloud State Jan. 14. He scored 12 points and added 10 assists.
• 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.
In a 63-53 win against WSC Jan. 9, he recorded 14 points and a season-high 13 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: With a dish to senior Patrick Cassidy in the opening minutes of the 87-82 loss to No. 15 Minnesota State Jan. 21, junior Bryce Tesdahl became the school’s all-time career assist leader (1976-present). The assist was the 315th of his career, surpassing David Lee (1984-88). This season he is first in the league and 4th in the nation in assists (6.3 apg). He has three 10+ assist games this season and five in his career. His 107 assists this season sits ninth on BSU’s top season assists chart.
Last season Tesdahl finished second in the NSIC in assists, averaging 5.1 assists per game. He totaled 137 assists in the season, finishing third on BSU’s all-time single-season chart.
BSU’s Top Career Assist Totals (1976-Present)
# Assists Player Seasons
1. 329 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. 23 NCAA Statistics Summary), shooting 78.4 percent from the charity stripe. Sophomore Lance Rongstad’s 87.5 percent guides the team and is 36th in the nation.
Battle for the Boards: In all seven of BSU’s wins this season it has outrebounded its opponent and owns a 7-2 record when doing so. But one category the Beavers have struggled in this season is the offensive glass. BSU is getting outrebounded 195-153 in offensive rebounds, resulting in a difference of 186-167 in second chance points.
Gotta Win the Close Ones: In a league as competitive as the NSIC, winning the close games is crucial to separate the non-playoff teams from the postseason contenders. This season, the Beavers are 1-5 in games decided by five points or less, pushing them to the 12th spot in the league standings.