Beavers battle No. 21 Warriors in NSIC Tournament Quarterfinals
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Beavers battle No. 21 Warriors in NSIC Tournament Quarterfinals

Setting the Scene
No. 21 Winona State
Saturday, March 2, 2013
Winona, Minn.
6:00 p.m.
McCown Gymnasium

Local Radio:
92.1 The River
Mark Ricci
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The Game
The Bemidji State men’s basketball team (16-11; 13-9 NSIC, 9-5 NSIC North) travels to No. 21 Winona State University (24-6; 17-5 NSIC, 10-4 NSIC South) for the quarterfinals of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference/Sanford Health Men’s Basketball Tournament Saturday, March 2 for a 6 p.m. contest. The Beavers earned the No. 3 seed in the NSIC North and have moved on to play the No. 2 seed in the NSIC South, the Warriors.

The winner of the contest will advance to the semifinals and play the winner of No. 4 seed of the South, Upper Iowa University at No. 1 seed of the North, St. Cloud State University, in Rochester, Minn. March 8.

The Series
The Beavers are 70-82 all-time against the Warriors in a series that dates back to 1933. The senior class has had success against WSU. In the past four seasons, BSU is 4-3 (2-2 on the road) against the Warriors, who had been at least receiving votes in the national poll in five of those contests. Earlier this season, the Beavers fell in a nail-bitter 70-67 in Winona.  Senior Lance Rongstad scored 24 points in the loss to Winona State.    

Team Notes
The trip will be the third of the season to the city after starting the campaign at a tournament hosted by the Warriors.
The Beavers are on a season-long four-game winning streak and own a 7-2 record in their last nine games.
• The Beavers knocked off No. 5 Minnesota State 82-74 on the road Feb. 8, then defeated No. 22 St. Cloud State at home 75-71 Feb. 23 to improve to 9-24 in the last eight seasons (2-2 in 2012-13) against nationally ranked opponents (top 25). The win against the No. 5 ranking is the biggest upset in the last eight seasons.
• BSU scored 212 points (106.0 ppg) and allowed 119 (59.2 ppg) points in back-to-back games Nov. 21-Dec. 1.
• Bemidji State is 12-2 in 2012-13 when scoring 70 or more points.
• BSU finished 10-2 at BSU Gymnasium this season.
• The Beavers have allowed 66.0 points per game, which sits fifth in the NSIC while the 66.6 points allowed per league contest finished fifth.
• The first five games of the season were decided by 25 or more points, while 15 of the last 21 games have been decided by 11 points or less. BSU is 8-7 in those games decided by 11 or less - 4-5 in games decided by five points or less.
• BSU is third in the league in 3-point field goals made per game (7.85 3-ptpg), a mark that ranks 46th nationally.
• With a 8.0 steals per game average, the Beavers rank third in the conference and 65th in the nation.
• BSU ranks 61st nationally in turnovers per game with a 13.0 mark. Its +0.85 turnover margin ranks fourth in the NSIC.
• The Beavers missed just four free throws in the final regular season weekend and went 36-for-40 (90.0%) to increase their team free throw percentage from 73.4 to 74.7 percent. Bemidji State went 17-for-19 against Wayne State. BSU ranks fourth in the league and 30th nationally in the category.

Player/Coach Notes
• Head coach Mike Boschee started with a 6-3 record in his first nine games as BSU’s bench boss, which was the best start by a Beaver first-year head coach since Jack Vinje opened the 1958-59 season with a matching 6-3 record. He is the 20th coach all-time at BSU and currently ranks third in first-year wins with 16. Both Jeff Guiot (2001-02) and Patrick Smith (2004-05) recorded 17 wins in their first season.
• Senior Lance Rongstad went over 1,000 career points at Winona State Jan. 18. He led or tied for the team lead in scoring in eight straight games Jan. 12-Feb. 2 with 21, 26, 24, 16, 17, 13, 18 and 20 points, respectfully.
• Senior Mason Walters totaled 34 points Feb. 22-23 to land right on 1,000 career points. The same weekend, Walters totaled 28 rebounds and moved from out of the career rebounding top 10 to ninth all-time at Bemidji State with 468 career boards. His 204 rebounds this season is ninth on the single season charts at BSU.
• Walters is pulled in 8.0 rebounds per game in conference contests to rank tied for third among his league counterparts (2.73 offensive rebounds ranked fourth). His 7.6 rebounds per game in all contests is fourth.
• The senior owns nine double-doubles this season to rank tied for second in the NSIC for most double-doubles. His mark also ranks 33rd nationally.
• Senior Dermaine Crockrell finished third in league games only with 34.86 minutes per game. In all games, his 1.29 assist/turnover ratio is 10th.
• Rongstad is shooting free throws at a 86.8 percent clip to sit seventh in the NSIC. Walters’ 86.5 mark is eighth.
• Senior Jason Edwards closed the conference season eighth in the league with 1.41 steals per game.
• BSU had three players finish in the top 15 in scoring in the 22-game league schedule, Crockrell (11th - 15.2 ppg), Walters (T-13th - 14.3 ppg) and Rongstad (15th - 13.9 ppg).

The Beavers
The Beavers advanced in the NSIC Tournament for the second consecutive season Wednesday when they defeated Wayne State College 71-54 in a rematch of last season’s first round game played at BSU Gymnasium. This time BSU didn’t mess around after a four-point win a year ago, the Beavers hit the first basket of the game and never trailed. The lead hit double-digits midway through the first half and the Beavers never looked back. Four players recorded double figures in scoring, led by senior Mason Walters’ 17 points and nine rebounds. Senior Jason Edwards recorded an inspiring performance with 13 points (tied career-best) and added five rebounds. BSU is 5-8 on the road in 2012-13.   

The Warriors
The Warriors are 24-6 in 2012-13, but three of those losses have come in the last seven games. WSU entered the postseason with an overtime loss to Augustana College on the road, but remedied that with a 77-64 victory against University of Mary in the first round of the NSIC Tournament. Senior Clayton Vette has led the team in scoring in each of the last eight games, which includes two 31 point performances. His 20.7 points per game is second in the NSIC, while his 8.3 rebounds per contest is also second. Winona State is first in the league in field goal defense, allowing its opponent to shoot 40 percent and in blocks with 4.33 swats per game. Mike Leaf is in his 15th season as head coach at Winona State.

NSIC Preseason Poll: Losing Daktronics Division II Player of the Year James Ellisor, all-region point guard Bryce Tesdahl and head coach Matt Bowen from last season’s record-breaking campaign has left doubt in the minds of the NSIC coaches for this year, as the BSU men’s basketball team was tabbed to finish tied for 12th in the 2012-13 NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll. Bemidji State earned 72 points in the overall poll to tie with Upper Iowa University and earned 25 points in the North Division poll to sit fifth.

BSU’s Player to Watch: Senior Dermaine Crockrell was an impact player the moment he stepped onto the court for BSU and earned 2011-12 NSIC Newcomer of the Year honors for his efforts last season. He averaged 12.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game and shot 50.3 percent from the field and 44.8 percent from beyond the arc. Crockrell played in his first game Dec. 16 and scored 10 points, but followed that with 21 in his second game in the green and white. Overall he posted four 20-point performances (season-high 27 at Minnesota Duluth Feb. 4) and finished the conference season second on the team and 23rd in the NSIC in scoring with 12.7 points per game.

Against Ranked Opponents: The Beavers got tested right out of the gates in 2011-12 with a contest at then-No. 10 Metro State Nov. 11 in the season opener, as it fell 71-60. BSU also fell to then-No. 17 Winona State Dec. 9 62-49, lost 103-93 in a double overtime thriller at then-No. 21 Augustana College and fell to then-No. 21 St. Cloud State 72-70 Jan. 13 to hold an 0-4 record against ranked opponents until downing then-No. 22 Winona State Feb. 25 at home 94-84.

BSU again battled Metro State early this season, falling to the then-No. 5 Roadrunners 67-41 Nov. 17. The Beavers traveled to No. 14 St. Cloud State Dec. 7 and led for almost 35 minutes of clock time before losing a lead for good and falling 68-60. The Beavers then stunned No. 5 Minnesota State on the road Feb. 8 with an 82-74 victory and just weeks later defeated No. 22 St. Cloud State at home Feb. 23 by the score of 75-71. BSU is also 1-3 against team’s earning votes in the national poll this season - losses to Michigan Tech (L, 86-59), MSU Moorhead (L, 82-48) and Winona State (70-67) and win against Augustana (W, 69-67).

The Beavers are 9-24 in the last eight seasons against nationally ranked opponents.

Welcome to the BSU Three Party: The Beavers hit at least five 3-pointers in 28 of the 31 games last season to total 225, an average of 7.3 a game. BSU shot at a 38.8 percent clip from beyond the arc (225-for-580) to rank fourth in the NSIC and 30th in the nation.

Right out of the gates the Beavers posted a double-digit 3-pointer total with 10 against UC-Colorado Springs Nov. 16. BSU went 10-for-18 (55.6%) in the game. The Beavers racked-up 17 against Finlandia Nov. 21. BSU scored 12 3-pointers against Minnesota, Crookston Dec. 1, knocked down 14 versus Minot State Dec. 15 and hit 12 against MSU Moorhead Jan. 25. BSU is 14-8 when it hits five or more 3-pointers. BSU is third in the league and 46th nationally in 3-point field goals made per game (7.85 3-ptpg).

Century Mark, Plus: The Beavers totaled 122 points in the 122-61 victory at Finlandia University Nov. 21. The BSU point total ranks second in program history in regulation games and third overall in points scored in a game. The record is a 126- 96 victory against Northland Dec. 13, 1991. BSU scored 124 points in a four overtime 126-124 loss at home to University of Minnesota Duluth Feb. 25, 2009. The last 100-point game for the Beavers came last season in a 100-77 home win against Concordia University, St. Paul. BSU also established a program record for point margin in the Nov. 21 win with 61. (List of all-time 100-point games can be found on page 11).

DEFENSE! [clap, clap] DEFENSE!: In all but three wins (75 in OT, 74 to No. 5 MSU and 71 to No. 22 SCSU) this season, the most points BSU has allowed in a win is 69. Overall, the team’s scoring defense stands at 66.0 points per game, which is fifth in the NSIC. The 66.6 points allowed per league contest was fifth. The 40 points given up in the 61-40 victory Dec. 14 against University of Mary, marked the lowest output by a BSU opponent since the 1951-52 season and the lowest by a conference opponent since 1950-51.

A Grand Accomplishment: Senior Lance Rongstad became the 16th player in Bemidji State men’s basketball program history to surpass the 1,000-point plateau in a career Jan. 18 at Winona State University on a 3-pointer early in the second half. He now has 1,190 career points (11.7 ppg) in his nearly four complete seasons as a Beaver to rank tied for 11th on the career points list. He is 13 points shy of cracking the top 10, Seth Haake (1,202, 2006-10).

Rongstad is also chasing BSU’s career rebounding and assist lists. With 457 career rebounds he is 10 boards shy of tying for 10th and with 171 assists, is 18 helpers short of tying for 10th. 

Senior Mason Walters reached the 1,000 point mark with two free throws in the season finale Feb. 23. He is the 17th player to reach the career accomplishment. He has 1,017 career points and has a career average of 9.5 points per game. In the two games Feb. 22-23, Walters racked up 28 rebounds to move into ninth on BSU’s career rebounds list with  468 career rebounds (4.5 rpg).

With two players reaching the milestone this year, it marks the third time two teammates have eclipsed 1,000 points in the same season. Kevin Nichols (1,125, 1992, 1994) and Scott Kramer (1,361, 1991-94) did so in 1994, while David Lee (2,034, 1984-88) and Dale Harper (1,158, 1983-87) each moved past 1,000 career points in 1987. In 1988, Lee - the program’s all-time scorer - went over the 2,000 point mark, while David Muelken (1,190, 1985-88) reached 1,000 career points.

For more information on the Bemidji State men’s basketball program, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BSUHoops or @BSUBeavers), like them on Facebook ( or or sign up for the TXTUpdates from text-messaging system through the "Mulitmedia" pull down menu on the main page of

Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).