By: Kelcy Longendyke, BSU Athletic Media Relations Interm
The 2012-2013 season was a fresh start for the Bemidji State University men’s basketball team after its former head coach, Matt Bowen, resigned and was replaced by Mike Bochee. After losing its head coach, the nation's player of the year and an all-region point guard, the league coaches predicted the Beavers to finish tied for 12th in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC). Bemidji State proved itself and surprised the league in one of the nation's toughest conferences and finished the 22-game league schedule with a 13-9 record to finish as the No. 3 seed in the NSIC North.
The season opened in Winona, Minn. at the NSIC/RMAC (Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) Challenge with a 76-49 win against University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and a loss to No. 5 Metro State University, 67-41. The next weekend, Nov. 20-21, BSU headed to Michigan where it lost to Michigan Technological University, a team that was receiving votes in the latest national poll, 89-59 and beat Finlandia University, 122-61. The 122-point victory was the highest score for the Beavers in program history.
Bemidji State opened its conference season Dec. 1 at home against University of Minnesota, Crookston. The 90-58 win for the Beavers brought their record to 2-3 overall and 1-0 NSIC. The next weekend the Beavers were on the road where they lost to No. 14 St. Cloud State University, 68-60, and beat University of Minnesota Duluth and former head coach, 66-55. In the final weekend of play before their winter break, the Beavers were at home where they defeated University of Mary 61-40 and Minot State University 73-63.
Bemidji State opened the 2013 calendar year with an unsuccessful road weekend where it headed southwest to take on Northern State University and, receiving national votes, Minnesota State University Moorhead, where it ultimately lost 64-61 and 82-48, respectively. Jan. 11, the Beavers were back at home where they played Augustana College, that was receiving votes, and stunned the crowd with a 69-67 win. The next day Wayne State College visited Bemidji and beat BSU by two points. The 64-62 loss dropped the Beavers to 7-6 overall and 5-4 in NSIC play.
The next week Bemidji State started a three-game road trip that began in Crookston, Minn. where it took a second win from UMC, 75-58. To finish the week the Beavers took home two losses after playing, receiving national votes, Winona State University (70-67) and Upper Iowa (81-67). In the final weekend of the month, BSU took on MSU Moorhead and, after an 8-0 run in the last 2:18 of overtime, it beat the Dragons 76-75. The next night the Beavers fell to Northern State 58-55. In the Jan. 18 game at Winona State University, Lance Rongstad (Sr., G/F, Eleva, Wis.) scored 24 points and in the process eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for his career to become the 16th member of the men’s basketball program to accomplish the feat.
Feb. 1-2, BSU was at home where it won 72-57 against Southwest Minnesota State University and 72-69 against University of Sioux Falls. The Beavers were on the road the next weekend where they went up against No. 5 Minnesota State University, Mankato and Concordia University, St. Paul. Bemidji State took an unexpected 82-74 victory from the No. 5 Mavericks on Friday thanks to a career high 29 points from Dermaine Crockrell (Sr., G, Mesa, Ariz.). The win marked the first against a nationally-ranked top five team. BSU fell to the Golden Bears 85-84 Saturday. The weekend brought the Beavers’ record to 12-10 overall and 10-8 NSIC.
The next weekend, BSU was on the road again where it lost to Minot State University 86-76. The next day the Beavers defeated U-Mary 63-56, after juniors Maxie Rosenbloom (F, St. Paul, Minn.) and Jake Schalow (G, Kaukauna, Wis.) scored a combined 20 bench points. The win started a six-game winning streak.
Feb. 22 former BSU head coach Matt Bowen, assistant coach Kevin Williamson, and former player Bryce Tesdahl came to back to Bemidji State, as coaches for UMD, to take on the Beavers. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs’ coaches their return was spoiled by a 79-64 BSU victory. The win secured a first round NSIC/Sanford Health Men's Basketball Tournament home game for the Beavers.
After an exciting win the night before Bemidji State defeated No. 22 St. Cloud State in its regular season finale.
For the second consecutive season the Beavers hosted Wayne State in the first round of the NSIC/Sanford Health Tournament the Beavers beat the Wildcats 71-54 and sent BSU to the quarterfinals.
March 2 marked a big night as the Beavers headed south to beat No. 21 Winona State 74-72, in the quarterfinals where Mason Walters (Sr., F, Milton Wis.) posted a career high 18 rebounds and sent BSU to the Rochester, Minn. for the second straight season.
In the semifinals BSU was pitted against Upper Iowa. BSU only made three, 3-pointers, but thankfully the Beaver defense stepped up to fill the void and lift them to victory, 64-61.
In the NSIC Tournament final the Beavers’ six game winning streak and season came to an end. Playing the program’s first NSIC Tournament Finals, the Beavers owned a 62-59 lead with less than seven minutes to play. But in the end the Bemidji State lost, 73-68 to No. 7 Minnesota State. BSU posted 18-12 overall record to rank fifth all-time for wins in the 91-year history of the program. Boschee set the BSU record for most wins by a first-year head coach.
Crockrell led the team in scoring with 14.6 points per game, which ranked 11th in the NSIC. He also guided the squad with 3.2 assists per game (13th in the league). The Mesa, Ariz. native scored double figures in all but two games in 2012-13, which includes five contests with 20-or-more points. He was an All-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Second Team and NSIC All-Tournament Team selection.
Rongstad was an All-NSIC Second Team pick after finishing third on the team and 22nd in the league in scoring with 12.4 points per game. He finished ninth all-time in scoring at Bemidji State with 1,225 career points and ranks 10th on BSU’s career rebounding list with 472 career boards.
Walters prospered in Boschee’s offense, while taking his rebounding game to the next level. He finished second on the team and 16th in the NSIC with 14.1 points per game, while his 7.8 rebounds per game was second in the league. His 10 double-doubles finished second in the NSIC and 36th nationally. For his efforts in the NSIC Tournament, he was named to the all-tournament team. With 234 rebounds, Walters ranked fifth on BSU’s all-time single season rebounding list. His 507 career rebounds is eighth all-time. He became the 17th player in program history to reach the 1,000 points plateau and finished with 1,070 career points.
Seniors Crockrell, Walters, Rongstad, and Jason Edwards (Sr., G, Phoenix, Ariz.) finished their collegiate careers with high honors from their coaches: Most Valuable Player, Most Improved, Leadership and Achievement, and the Coaches Award, respectively.
Edwards led the team and finished 11th in the NSIC in steals with 40 (1.33 spg). He was fifth on the team in scoring with 5.3 points in 26.5 minutes per game. He averaged 2.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game.
Rosenbloom was named Defensive Player of the year, brought in 3.9 rebounds per game and knocked away 20 blocks to rank second on the team. He averaged 5.1 points in 19.7 minutes per game. The junior shot 53.5 percent from the field and added 16 steals and 15 assists.