Golden Eagles steal game from Beavers, 82-81, with last second free throw

December 15, 20161st2ndFinal
Bemidji State315081
Minnesota Crookston275582
Stats at a GlanceBSUMUMC
FG Percentage.537 (29-54) .476 (30-63)
3P FG Percentage.364 (4-11) .440 (11-25)
FT Percentage.613 (19-31) .550 (11-20)
Offensive Rebounds56
Defensive Rebounds3125
Total Rebounds3631
Turnovers118
Steals25
Bench Points311
LeadersBSUMUMC
PointsGreen - 22
Best - 22
Cleary - 34
ReboundsDibble - 9
Johnson - 8
AssistsPekarek - 3
Critchley - 6
StealsBader - 1
Black - 1
Smith - 2
BlocksHarvey - 1
Green - 1
Smith - 3
Golden Eagles steal game from Beavers, 82-81, with last second free throw
Thursday, December 15, 2016
Golden Eagles steal game from Beavers, 82-81, with last second free throw
Photo Credit: Kayla Smith

CROOKSTON, Minn. (Lysaker Gymnasium) -- Thursday night’s only game in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play took the full 40 minutes to decide a winner as the Bemidji State University men’s basketball team fell to University of Minnesota Crookston, 82-81, at Lysaker Gymnasium in Crookston, Minn. A last-second layup was blocked following a free throw to hand the Beavers (3-7, 1-4 NSIC) their fourth straight conference loss while the Golden Eagles (4-6, 1-4 NSIC) won their second game against BSU in the last 17 tries.

The Beavers saw balance in their top offensive output as Ben Best, Sharif Black and Jai’Vionne Green each scored at least 17 points. Best and Green recorded season highs and tied for the team lead in scoring for the second consecutive game with 22 points while Black finished with 17. Black received the last-shot opportunity with 2.1 second in the game that was denied.

Golden Eagles guard Harrison Cleary, leading the NSIC and ranking 29th in the nation with 21.7 points per game, helped bring UMC back from a six-point deficit with two minutes in the game. He scored five of his career-high 34 points in the final minute, including an and-one layup to tie the game at 81.

Black, Peyton Dibble and Green each accounted for Bemidji State’s first points in a quick 5-0 lead over Minnesota Crookston. BSU forced UMC to four consecutive missed field goals to begin the game, but it took just two for the Golden Eagles to tie the game at 5-5. After Bemidji State’s five-point lead, neither team was able to pull ahead by more than four points until the final minute of the first half.

Minnesota Crookston took its largest lead of the first half, 25-21, with just over five minutes until halftime before Black scored his third basket of the game, sparking a 10-0 run for Bemidji State. Green scored twice during the run to finish the first half with 10 points to lead BSU to a 31-27 lead at halftime.

Bemidji State reached a game-high six-point advantage for the second time three minutes into the second half, but again neither team was able to separate past that mark. Cleary and Chase Knickerbocker, who entered the game averaging 9.0 points per game, each reached over 20 points scoring with six minutes left in the game to give the Golden Eagles its largest lead, 66-60.

Following a Knickerbocker layup to give UMC the six-point lead, the Bemidij State defense held Minnesota Crookston scoreless over the next two and a half minutes. The Beavers’ offense answered right back with a 9-0 run off two baskets, including two offensive rebounds leading to a layup, and four free throws. Cleary snapped the run with his third 3-pointer of the night, but the Beavers continued with a 7-1 run to take a 76-70 lead with just under two minutes remaining in the game.

The Beavers held on to a five-point lead with 51 seconds left before the Golden Eagles went on a 6-0 run, concluded by a free throw conversion that was set up by a BSU foul in the bonus following a missed Beavers shot. The free throw was made with 2.6 seconds to go and a throw in by Logan Bader to the front court was immediately followed with a timeout for an opportunity to set up a play. On the ensuing throw in with 2.1 seconds, Black received the ball and went up for the game-winning layup that was blocked away to preserve the Golden Eagles’ first win in conference play.

Bemidji State fell for just the second time while shooting at least 50.0 percent from the field, finishing Thursday shooting 54.7 percent and 29-of-53 from the floor. BSU converted just four 3-pointers compared to 11 for UMC and shot a season-high 31 free throw attempts. The Beavers converted just 19 free throws for 61.3 percent.

Bemidji State will take a two-week hiatus for the holiday break before returning to action at University of Upper Iowa Dec. 30 and Winona State University Dec. 31. The Beavers and Peacocks begin play in Fayette, Iowa at 8 p.m. and the Beavers and Warriors tip-off in Winona, Minn., at 6 p.m.

For more information on the Bemidji State athletic programs, tickets or schedules, visit BSUBeavers.com, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BSUBeavers), like them on Facebook (facebook.com/BSUBeavers) or sign up for the TXTUpdates from BSUBeavers.com text-messaging system through the "Multimedia" pull down menu on the main page of BSUBeavers.com.

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).

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