This Week: The Bemidji State University men’s basketball looks to snap a seven-game losing streak as it travels for two Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference contests at University of Minnesota Crookston Feb. 11 at 8 p.m. and Minnesota State University Moorhead Feb. 12 at 8 p.m.
About Bemidji State: The Beavers are 7-13 overall and 4-12 in NSIC play to sit 13th in the league. BSU is on a season-long seven-game losing streak, falling most recently at home to University of Minnesota Duluth 89-75. UMD came out firing against BSU, taking an early lead. BSU bounced back and hung within six points for the first 10 minutes of the opening half, but then the Bulldogs put on a shooting clinic from beyond the arc and stormed out to a 50-32 lead at halftime. The Beavers were able to get as close as nine points down in the second half, but couldn’t complete the comeback as UMD ended its nine-game losing streak, making 13 of its 28 shots from beyond the arc (46.4%).
• Junior James Ellisor led BSU with a personal and team season-high 28 points. He leads the team and is eighth in the NSIC in scoring (16.7 ppg).
• BSU is No. 2 nationally (games thru Feb. 6) in free throw shooting this season, hitting at a 79.7 percent clip from the line. Sophomore Lance Rongstad is No. 15 nationally with a 89.7 percentage from the line.
• Junior Bryce Tesdahl leads the NSIC and is 5th in the nation in assists, dishing out 6.1 per game. He has three 10+ assist games this season.
• During the losing streak, BSU is being outscored 82.9 to 74.6 and have allowed its opponents to shoot 49.4% from the field and 41.9% from 3-point range, while shooting 44.8% and 34.6%, respectfully.
About Minnesota, Crookston: The Golden Eagles are 6-14 overall and 2-14 in the NSIC. UMC has lost its last five games and are 1-10 in 2011. Senior Eric Dearden leads the Golden Eagles with 14.5 points per game. Two other players are averaging in double-figures, including junior Larry Brown who is averaging 12.5 points and a team-best 4.3 rebounds. UMC is last in scoring in league games, averaging 62.3 points per game and is 11th in scoring defence, allowing 75.8 points per game.
Series History: The Beavers hold a 37-12 all-time advantage against UMC, owning a 5-0 record in the last five contests. BSU won the game between the teams earlier this season in Bemidji 88-63. Head coach Matt Bowen is 8-1 all-time against the Golden Eagles.
About MSU Moorhead: The Dragons own a 11-9 overall and 8-8 NSIC record to sit seventh in league standings. MSUM is 1-3 in its last four contests, falling at Northern State (86-80) and University of Mary (73-66) last weekend. The Dragons are led in scoring by junior Tarell Clark’s 13 points per game. MSUM has five players averaging in double-figures in points. Sophomore Alex Novak is the team and conference leader in rebounds with 10.9 per game.
Series History: BSU is 80-85 all-time against the Dragons in a series dating back to the 1927-28 season, serving as the Beavers’ longest rivalry. MSUM owns the last five games 1-4, winning earlier this season in Bemidji, 60-58.
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).
Ellisor is leading the team in scoring with 16.7 points and 6.7 rebounds in 31.8 minutes, while shooting 56.3 percent from the field and going 63-for-80 (78.8%) from the charity stripe. He scored 25 points in the opener, adding a team-high six rebounds.
Roaring 20’s: Ellisor has seven games scoring the 20’s, including a team season-high 28 point performance Feb. 5 versus Minnesota Duluth. Last season BSU had 15 games with an individual in the 20’s, led by Seth Haake’s eight. This season, five players have combined for 13 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 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 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 5th in the nation in assists (6.1 apg). He has three 10+ assist games this season and five in his career. His 122 assists this season sits eighth 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 fourth on BSU’s all-time single-season chart.
BSU’s Top Career Assist Totals (1976-Present)
# Assists Player Seasons
1. 344 Bryce Tesdahl 2008-SA
BSU’s Top Season Assists
# Asts. Player Season Avg.
1. 167 James Roberson 2003-04 5.6
2. 145 Royce Bryan 2001-02 5.1
3. 142 Tyrone Terrill 1975-76 5.9
4. 137 Bryce Tesdahl 2009-10 5.1
5. 135 James Roberson 2004-05 5.0
6. 129 Kevin Nichols 1993-94 5.0
7. 124 Mike Curry 1995-96 4.6
8. 122 Bryce Tesdahl 20010-11 6.1
Thanks for the Charity: The Beavers are the No. 2 team in the Division II nation in free throw percentage (as of the Feb. 6 NCAA Statistics Summary), shooting 79.7 percent from the charity stripe. Sophomore Lance Rongstad’s 89.7 percent guides the team and is 15th in the nation.
Battle for the Boards: In all seven of BSU’s wins this season it has outrebounded its opponent and owns a 7-3 record when doing so. But one category the Beavers have struggled in this season is the offensive glass. BSU is getting outrebounded 228-176 in offensive rebounds, resulting in a difference of 230-195 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 1-6 in games decided by five points or less, pushing them to the 13th spot in the league standings.