February 19, 20111st2ndFinal
Minnesota State374077
Bemidji State363773
Stats at a GlanceMSUBSUMBB
FG Percentage.610 (25-41) .500 (27-54)
3P FG Percentage.667 (8-12) .333 (5-15)
FT Percentage.864 (19-22) .824 (14-17)
Offensive Rebounds510
Defensive Rebounds1812
Total Rebounds2322
Turnovers1611
Steals210
Bench Points1014
LeadersMSUBSUMBB
PointsHill - 23
Ellisor - 27
ReboundsO'Brien - 10
Cassidy - 6
AssistsHill - 4
Tesdahl - 10
StealsHill - 1
Morrow - 1
Tesdahl - 3
Ellisor - 3
BlocksCassidy - 1
Beavers hang with No. 14 Mavericks but fall in the end 77-73
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Beavers hang with No. 14 Mavericks but fall in the end 77-73
BEMIDJI, Minn. - So many times this season the Bemidji State University men’s basketball team has seen victory just within its reach and has fallen just short. Again Saturday the Beavers battled to the final buzzer but only to fall short, this time to the No. 14 Minnesota State University, Mankato Mavericks, who came into the BSU Gymnasium and downed BSU 77-73 in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference game.

The lead changed 12 times and the teams were tied 12 times, including in the final minute at 72-72. With both teams in the double bonus, a referee’s call away from the ball on sophomore Lance Rongstad (G, Eleva, Minn.) put the Mavericks at the line with just 36 ticks on the clock. MSU senior Jefferson Mason made both of the freebies and gave BSU a chance to tie the game or even take the lead.

After 15 seconds fell off the clock, the ball was swung around to the hot 3-point hand of freshman Jake Schalow (G, Kaukauna, Wis.). His shot from beyond the arc fell just off the rim, but in his last game at the BSU Gymnasium, senior Patrick Cassidy (F, St. Paul, Minn.) brought down the offensive board and was fouled. With a chance to tie, Cassidy failed to make the first free throw, but found the bottom of the net on the second. Down one with 20 seconds left, junior Bryce Tesdahl (G, Crosby, Minn.) immediately fouled, his fifth personal, and put MSU’s senior Marcus Hill at the line. He missed his first and hit the second, keeping BSU within two and 19 seconds on the clock. After bringing the ball up and moving it around the perimeter, Cassidy again had a shot to be the hero on his day, taking an open look from the wing inside the 3-point line with two seconds left but his shot fell just short and into the hands of a player wearing purple and gold.

Two free throws later the final buzzer sounded and BSU fell by four points, making its record this season in games decided by five points or less 1-7. Junior James Ellisor (F, Glendale, Ariz.) had another big game, posting a game-high 27 points and adding five rebounds. Cassidy is the lone senior for BSU this season. He posted 13 points and six rebounds in his final game at the gym he has spent four years playing in.

“It’s sad to leave to this place,” Cassidy said. “It’s been my home for four years and it’s all over It’s a surreal feeling.”  

“It was a well played game on both ends,” said head coach Matt Bowen. “In the end we had the scored tied and had an opportunity to make some plays and just came up a little bit short, certainly not for a lack of effort from the kids, we just didn’t come out with a win and I feel for them.”

The Beavers (9-15, 6-14 NSIC) and Mavericks (22-3, 18-3 NSIC) traded hoops to begin the game, leading to a 16-15 MSU lead after an offensive board and lay-up from Cassidy. The Mavericks then went lights out on offense and owned a 32-21 lead with just over six minutes to go in the first half.

Cassidy and the Beavers responded with a 15-5 run to close the half and cut the Maverick lead to one at 37-36. Cassidy had 12 points in the half with six points, two rebounds and an assist in the run that was capped by a freshman Jake Schalow (G, ) old fashioned 3-point play. BSU was glad to be down just one at the half as the Mavericks were shooting 60 percent from the field and a deadly 7-of-9 (77.8%) from beyond the arc. BSU shot 50 percent from the field in the half, going just 2-for-7 (28.6%) from downtown.   

BSU took its first lead since early in the first half after Rongstad got a pass from Tesdahl and finished on the bucket inside while being fouled. Rongstad converted on the free throw to give the Beavers a 41-39 lead. MSU then used a 12-6 run to retake the lead at 51-45 six minutes into the second half. 3-pointers from Rongstad and Schalow helped the Beavers get back into the game as BSU put together a 8-2 run to knot the contest again at 53-53 with 12 to play in regulation.

The teams traded buckets until Ellisor converted on a 3-point play to give the Beavers a 60-59 advantage at the media timeout just under 10 minutes gone from the half. The see-saw match continued as both teams battled on both ends. Ellisor continued to get the hoop and converted on a lay-up with 1:30 left in regulation to tie the game 70-70. MSU’s Jimmy Whitehead responded with his first basket of the night to hand the Mavericks a 72-70 lead. On the other end, Ellisor was fouled with 47 seconds left and converted on his two from the charity stripe to tie the game for the 12th and final time in the game. Before MSU could even set-up its offense, the infraction on Rongstad was called and Mason went to the line.

Tesdahl finished with 10 assists, the fourth time this season and sixth time in his career he has surpassed 10 assists in a game, to tie for ninth on BSU’s single game list. His 15 assists on the weekend put his season total at 142, surpassing his last season’s mark of 137 and tying him for third on BSU’s single season chart. The single season leader is James Roberson’s 167 helpers in 2003-04. Tesdahl is already the school’s career assist leader, accomplishing that feat earlier this season against Minnesota State Jan. 21.

Ellisor’s performance was his ninth game in the 20’s this season. Rongstad finished with 14 points. Schalow had nine points on 3-of-5 shooting, making two of the Beavers’ five 3-pointers. BSU ended up outscoring the Mavericks 44-24 in the paint. The Beavers shot 50 percent in the game, but couldn’t keep up with MSU’s 61 percent from the field. MSU had seven 3-pointers in the first half, but just one in the second.

The Beavers held MSU’s Mason to 12 points, a player who was averaging 19.1 points per game entering the weekend. Hill led MSU with 23, missing just two shots and making 4-of-5 attempts from beyond the arc.  

BSU closes the season on the road Feb. 25-26 at Upper Iowa University and Winona State University.

Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).

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