|February 29, 2012||1st||2nd||Final|
|Wayne State (Neb.)||15||38||53|
|Stats at a Glance||WSCMBB||BSUMBB|
|FG Percentage||.400 (22-55)||.444 (20-45)|
|3P FG Percentage||.429 (6-14)||.333 (5-15)|
|FT Percentage||.500 (3-6)||.706 (12-17)|
Shelby - 2
Rolfzen - 1
Crockrell - 1
BEMIDJI, Minn. – Trailing by one with 42 seconds to go, senior guard Bryce Tesdahl (Crosby, Minn.) drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give the Bemidji State University men’s basketball team the lead and followed on the other end with a defensive board and an outlet pass to James Ellisor (Sr., F, Glendale, Ariz.) who put an exclamation on the victory slamming home two of his team-high 14 points. The Beavers would not look back claiming a 57-53 victory against Wayne State College to advance to the semifinal round of the 2012 NSIC/Sanford Health Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The top-seeded Beavers (22-7) now move on to the semifinals in Rochester, Minn. March 3. BSU will battle No. 4 seed Minnesota State University Moorhead at 2:30 p.m. at Taylor Arena. The Beavers improve to 6-0 in a home first round playoff game in NSIC tournament history (since 2000) and have appeared in five semifinal games (0-5). The win marks the first postseason victory for head coach Matt Bowen. The No. 8 seed Wildcats finished the season 10-17.
Ellisor took just two shots in the first half and nine overall, going 5-for-9 (55.6%) from the field and 3-for-4 (75%) from the line. Junior Dermaine Crockrell (G, Mesa, Ariz.) and junior Lance Rongstad (G/F, Eleva, Wis.) each tallied 12 points. Rongstad added nine rebounds, while Crockrell pulled down seven. Crockrell was 2-for-3 from beyond the arc, hitting two of BSU’s five 3-pointers. BSU shot 44.4 percent from the field and held Wayne State to 40 percent shooting. BSU entered the game as the No. 1 team in the nation in turnovers per game with 10.3. The Beavers had nine in the first half and 14 total.
The pace of the game was sluggish and that started right from the opening possessions, as the Wildcats scored the first bucket 49 seconds into the game, but failed to score during the next 6:11 of game time and the Beavers owned a slim 6-2 lead. BSU pushed the lead to 10 at 16-6 on a fast break bucket from Tesdahl with 6:12 remaining in the half.
WSC cut the deficit to five at 16-11 with 3:25 remaining, but the Beavers owned a 21-13 lead with 1:59 left before taking a 21-15 advantage into halftime. BSU had an uncharacteristic nine turnovers in the half, while shooting 42.9 percent from the field. Wayne State shot 25 percent in the first 20 minutes. Crockrell guided the Beavers in the first with seven points and five rebounds.
The slow pace continued into the second half, but the Beavers were able to open a 29-21 lead five minutes into the frame. WSC cut it to 29-23, but Rongstad responded with four straight points to hand the Beavers a 33-23 lead with 13:04 remaining.
Following a Wildcats timeout the road team posted a 6-0 run to get within four, but a Crockrell 3-pointer ended the run and the Beavers led 36-29 with 11:13 to go. The Beavers owned a 47-39 lead with 5:44 remaining, but the Wildcats again clawed back and the BSU lead was three 47-44 with 4:06 remaining.
WSC cut the Beaver lead to two with a 3-pointer with 2:46 remaining and the score showing 49-47. A free throw from Tesdahl made the score 50-47, but four straight points from the Wildcats and the eight-seed had its first lead since the first minute of the game at 51-50 with 58 seconds remaining on the clock. Just 16 seconds later, Tesdahl found himself along atop the key and he buried the last shot he will ever take in a game at the BSU Gymnasium to set the season-best 2,279 crowd into a frenzy. He then pulled in the board and fed Ellisor for the nail in the coffin dunk and the 55-51 lead. Ellisor hit both free throws to close out the game with 10 ticks left.
Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).