|February 25, 2012||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||WSU-M||BSUMBB|
|FG Percentage||.509 (27-53)||.481 (26-54)|
|3P FG Percentage||.333 (6-18)||.391 (9-23)|
|FT Percentage||.706 (24-34)||.825 (33-40)|
Kellen Taylor - 1
Joel Armstrong - 1
Zander Culver - 1
CJ Erickson - 1
BEMIDJI Minn. - The Bemidji State University men’s basketball team defeated No. 22 Winona State University 94-84 Saturday to earn an outright Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference championship for the 10th time in program history and the first since 2003-04. The Beavers earned the title and their program-record 21st win of the season behind their seniors on Senior Day. Senior Bryce Tesdahl (G, Crosby, Minn.) became the NSIC single season assists record holder and senior James Ellisor (F, Glendale, Ariz.) posted his third consecutive 30-point game, tying his career-high with 34. Senior center Ryan Kinnell (Yuma, Ariz.) also contributed solid defense and knocked down a key 3-pointer in nine minutes off the bench.
The Beavers (16-6 in NSIC play and 21-7 overall) earned the outright championship after St. Cloud State University lost to Concordia University, St. Paul in St. Cloud, Minn. The game ended about the time BSU got started with Winona State. In 90 years of basketball, BSU has just two NSIC championships (2003-04) and has eight Northern Intercollegiate Conference (NIC) titles, the last dating back to the 1966-67 season. Last season the Beavers finished tied for 10th in the league standings and were tabbed to finish seventh in the 2011-12 NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll. BSU surpasses that 2003-04 team’s 20-10 final record to become the most winningest team in program history.
With the win the Beavers earn the No. 1 seed in the Sanford Health / NSIC Men’s Basketball Tournament. The Beavers will face Wayne State College (Neb.) in the first round as the Wildcats went on the road and earned two wins this past weekend to sneak in at the No. 8 seed. BSU hosts WSC Wed., Feb. 29 at 7 p.m. at BSU Gymnasium. The Beavers defeated the Wildcats in the only meeting between the teams this season. BSU won in Wayne, Neb. 67-61 Jan. 8.
Tesdahl needed three assists to surpass former Winona State guard David Fisher’s conference record mark of 138 assists (conference games only). He got eight and finished with 144 assists in conference play this season. His overall 170 helpers on the season surpasses James Roberson’s mark from the 2003-04 season (167) for the BSU single season record.
Ellisor has five 30 point games this season, more than twice as many as any other NSIC player in 2011-12. His 34 points ties his career-high that he established twice, (Jan. 7 and Jan. 20). He got to 34 by going 9-for-14 (64.3%) from the field and establishing career-marks in free throws made and attempted, going 15-for-16 (93.8%) from the charity stripe. He added nine rebounds and three assists.
Overall, BSU shot 33-for-40 (82.5%) from the line in the game, a key component to the win, especially down the stretch. Junior Dermaine Crockrell (G, Mesa, Ariz.) posted 23 points on 8-of-11 (72.7%) shooting from the field, 4-of-6 (66.7%) from beyond the arc and a 3-for-4 (75%) performance from the line. He had five rebounds in 37 minutes of play. BSU overcame a 42-28 deficit in the paint by hitting nine 3-pointers, including going 5-for-8 (62.5%) from downtown in the second half.
The first half was everything expected from the two physical teams as 23 fouls were whistled in the frame. The Beavers got out to a five point advantage at 9-4 2:45 into the contest, but the Warriors rattled off a 8-0 run to own the 12-9 lead six minutes in.
WSU held a four point advantage at 19-15 with 13:14 remaining, but the Beavers battled back and knotted the game 22-22 with just under 10 to play in the opening half on a Crockrell 3-pointer. BSU then posted a 10-4 run that gave it a six-point lead at 32-26 with 6:17 showing on the game clock.
The momentum then quickly swung back in the Warriors favor and the road team tore out to a six point lead at 38-32 after the 12-0 run that brought the clock down to 3:03 remaining. A lay-up from sophomore guard Jake Schalow (Kaukauna, Wis.) broke the run, while in the process the dish he received came off the hands of Tesdahl for his 139th assist in conference play this season.
The Beavers found themselves down 42-36 heading into the locker room. Ellisor had 11 at the half, but Winona State center Clayton Vette posted 13. WSU recorded a 51.9 percentage from the field, while BSU shot 39.3 percent. Both teams hit four 3-pointers, but the Beavers attempted five more shot (4-for-15).
The second half started off all Winona State as the Beavers got down as much as nine at 61-52 with 14:24 to play in regulation. After battling back, BSU had multiple opportunities to cut the deficit to a one possession game, but couldn’t break through until a jumper from Tesdahl got the Beavers within two at 64-62, then Crockrell followed with a dagger from beyond the arc to hand the Beavers a 65-64 lead with 8:25 left.
After trading buckets, the Beavers got another cold-blooded 3-pointer from Crockrell and owned a 70-69 advantage with 6:17 to go. It wasn’t easy, but the Beaver defense came through and BSU never lost the lead the rest of the way. BSU got big shots from Ellisor, but what sealed the deal was the play of sophomore Maxie Rosenbloom (F, St. Paul, Minn.). His defense on Vette (finished with 28 points) was stellar and he contributed on the offensive end with three free throws on back-to-back possessions to give the Beavers an 82-74 lead with 2:21 to play.
Missed shots by the Warriors forced them to play the foul game, but BSU wouldn’t falter, going 15-for-18 in the game’s final 3:07 from the line, getting makes from four different players. Those crucial buckets secured the victory and as the buzzer sounded the Beavers and the season-best 2,013 fans rejoiced.
The regular season comes to an end with the Beavers crowned regular season champions with a 16-6 NSIC record and an overall mark of 21-7. BSU hosts Wayne State Feb. 29 at 7 p.m. with hopes of advancing to the semifinals and finals of the tournament in Rochester, Minn. March 3-4.
Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).