BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University men’s basketball team returns to action following the holiday break with Northern Sun intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) games at Upper Iowa University on Dec. 30 and Winona State University on Dec. 31. The Beavers (3-7, 1-4 NSIC) and Peacocks (8-4, 5-1 NSIC) tip off at 8 p.m. Friday from Fayette, Iowa while the Beavers and Warriors (5-5, 2-4 NSIC) begin play at 6 p.m. Saturday in Winona, Minn.
The Series vs. Upper Iowa
- Bemidji State holds control of the 18-game series against Upper Iowa, 12-6, including a four-game win streak dating back to 2013. The series began with a 97-69 win by the Beavers on Dec. 16, 1949 in Fayette, Iowa. The two programs began to meet at least once a year in 2008 after UIU joined the NSIC in 2006.
- The Beavers won the most recent meeting, 90-80, in Bemidji. BSU scored 45 points in each half and held a 45-28 lead at halftime. Four Beavers totaled double-digit scoring while the team shot 43.3 percent from the field and 42.3 percent from beyond the arc.
The Series vs. Winona State
- Winona State leads the all-time series record against Bemidji State, 85-71, that dates back to Jan. 7, 1933. The Beavers won the opening game of the series, 43-34 in overtime, but the Warriors have won the last three in the series.
- The Warriors won the most recent matchup, 84-77, in Bemidji. After BSU held a 33-32 lead at halftime, WSU went on to outscore BSU in the second half, 52-44. Senior forward Will Harvey scored 12 points while senior forward Ben Best added nine. Harvey was one rebound shy of a double-double while he added two assists and two blocks.
Fast Break Bemidji State
- Bemidji State was just seconds away from earning its second conference win of the season, but University of Minnesota Crookston sank free throws to hand BSU an 82-81 loss heading into the holiday break.
- Neither team pulled ahead by more than four points until the final minute of the first half. Junior guard Sharif Black sparked a 10-0 run by the Beavers that led to a 31-27 halftime lead for BSU. The game remained close in the second half as well, as Bemidji State held a five-point lead with 51 seconds in the game. UMC finished the game on a 6-0 run while BSU missed two field goals and two free throws during the final stretch.
- Best and freshman guard Jai’Vionne Green both led BSU in scoring for the second consecutive game and set season-highs with 22 points each. Best shot 9-of-11 from the field. Black followed in scoring with 17 points.
- The Beavers took a season-high 31 free throw attempts against the Golden Eagles and converted 19. The loss was the second of the season for BSU while shooting at least 50 percent from the field. The Beavers finished shooting 53.7 overall and 36.4 percent from beyond the arc. BSU outrebounded UMC, 36-31, but the Golden Eagles converted seven more 3-pointers than the Beavers.
- Green leads BSU and ranks 10th in the NSIC with 16.7 points per game. He is also one of the best shooters in the league, converting from 47.2 percent of shots from the field to rank 18th in the NSIC. Green has scored in double-digits every game except one this season. He has recorded three games of at least 20 points scoring.
- Green has led BSU in scoring a team-best six times this season, while Black has led during three games. Freshman guard Peyton Dibble has led the team in rebounds during two of the last three games.
- Ball movement and halftime leads are crucial to the Beavers, as they have yet to lose when totaling at least 20 assists and are 0-5 when they enter halftime with a deficit.
- Best leads all active BSU players with 609 career points in 64 games. Harvey follows with 327 in just two seasons and 35 games, while junior guard Christian Pekarek has totaled 310 points in 50 career games.
Scouting Upper Iowa
- Upper Iowa split a pair of matchups with Winona State, playing the Warriors twice in a 48-hour time span. UIU first fell at home, 85-67, before taking revenge and a win, 95-82, in Winona, Minn. Upper Iowa is 5-1 to start NSIC play for the first time since joining the league in 2006.
- The Peacocks were held to their lowest shooting percentage of the season in the loss, converting just 39 percent from the field. UIU bounced back in the win, shooting 50.0 percent from the field, including 15-of-29 from behind the arc. It is the second time this season that Upper Iowa has hit 15 3-pointers in a game.
- Carson Parker averaged 20.0 points per game against WSU, including a career-high 33 points in UIU’s win. Parker connected on 14-of-23 shots from the field between both games, including 8-of-14 from beyond the arc.
- Jimmy Roth averaged 16.5 points during both games, including a 20-point effort in UIU’s loss. Luke Lenhart averaged 10.5 points, while Josh Weeber averaged 10 and Dennis Austin III picked up 9.5 per game.
- Five players have scored in double-figures for UIU for the third time in the last four games.
Scouting Winona State
- Winona State split on the road to enter the weekend with a 5-5 overall record and 2-4 mark in the NSIC. The Warriors began its previous weekend of action with an 85-67 win in Fayette, Iowa before a 95-82 loss in Winona.
- The Warriors shot 68.0 percent from the field in the second half of their win against the Peacocks. In the win at Fayette, WSU converted a season-best 14 free throws and tied a season-high 14 assists. WSU made a season-high 12 3-pointers while both teams combined for 27 3-point field goals in Winona.
- Isaiah Gray and Kyle Bauman each reached 1,000 career points over the weekend. The Warriors now have three 1,000-point scorers on the team for the first time since 2007. Tommy Gathje scored a career high in points twice, 14 points in the weekend-opening win and 21 in the loss. Gathje recorded the team’s first double-double of the season with 21 points and 11 rebounds.
- Averaging 77.3 points per game, the Warriors topped their season average in both games against the Peacocks. Riley Bambenek combined for 41 points over the weekend to led WSU and rank tied for fifth in the NSIC with 18.3 points per game.
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).