BEMIDJI, Minn. -- Bemidji State University men’s basketball begins its season series versus Minot State University and University of Mary, Jan. 20-21, while traveling for the first time since Dec. 30-31, 2016. The Beavers (6-11, 4-8 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) head to North Dakota looking to take sole possession of fourth place in the NSIC North Division, currently held by the Marauders (7-11, 5-7 NSIC).
The Series vs. Minot State
- Bemidji State and Minot State began the 18-game series Dec. 28, 1967, an 86-82 win by BSU at the Mayville Invitational in Mayville, N.D. BSU leads the all-time record, 11-7, although MiSU has won the previous three meetings. Minot State swept Bemidji State last season with a 77-73 win in Minot, N.D., and an 81-79 win in Bemidji. Senior forward Ben Best averaged 15.5 points per game last year against MiSU, while senior forward Will Harvey also reached double-digits with 10.0 points per game.
The Series vs. U-Mary
- U-Mary leads the all-time series versus Bemidji State, 13-8, which began Dec. 18, 1971 in Bismarck, N.D., with a 92-87 win for the Marauders. The Beavers grabbed six of their eight wins in the series consecutively from 2011-2014, while the Marauders have won the last four. U-Mary opened the series last season with a 92-80 win in Bismarck and swept BSU with an 81-77 win in Bemidji. Harvey led all current Beavers with 9.0 points per game against U-Mary last season, while junior guard Christian Pekarek recorded 15 points and four 3-pointers in the first matchup of the 2015-16 season.
Fast Break Bemidji State
- Bemidji State improved its overall record to 6-11 and its conference record to 4-8 with a 2-1 week in its previous action. BSU closed the Sanford Center Series with a 77-75 win over University of Minnesota Crookston before splitting its last weekend of games with a 78-71 loss to University of Sioux Falls and a 96-86 win over Southwest Minnesota State University. Bemidji State currently sits fifth in the NSIC North Division standings, one game behind U-Mary in fourth.
- The Beavers got a boost off the bench to take a game-high 21-point lead against the Golden Eagles. Freshman forward Lucas Wendt finished the game with 20 points, 13 in the first half, to take the lead of at least 20 points in the second half. UMC erased the BSU lead with a 25-2 run over a three-minute span midway through the second half. BSU scored six of the final eight points in the game, including two free throws by freshman guard Jai’Vionne Green, to seal the team’s first consecutive wins in conference play this season.
- Wendt led BSU with 20 points on seven-for-eight shooting off the bench followed by Best with 18 on 8-for-16 shooting. Junior guard Sharif Black recorded 18 points followed by Green with 15.
- The Beavers and Cougars remained close throughout their game, while BSU saw a chance to tie the game at 74 with 10 seconds to go. Pekarek nearly tied the game with a 3-pointer, but the contested shot fell short as Sioux Falls iced the game with four free throws to take the win.
- Green brought BSU back with 16 points off the bench in the second half, sinking only 3-pointers and free throws. Best led the team with 17 points while Pekarek and Black each also reached double-digit scoring with 14 and 12 points, respectively.
- Bemidji State continued its second-half scoring prowess, recording at least 50 points in the final period for the third time in the last six games. The Beavers recorded 20 assists on 33 field goals to overcome a 48-42 deficit at halftime. BSU pulled ahead of SMSU midway through the second half and went up by double-digit points with eight minutes in the game. BSU shot 6-for-10 from the field and 11-for-17 from the free throw line over the final minutes to win its third of the last four games.
- Green finished with a career-high 25 points to continue to lead the Beavers with 17.6 points per game. All five Beavers starters recorded double-figure scoring, including Pekarek with a double-double of 19 points and 10 assists, and Best with 17 points on six-for-nine shooting from the field.
- Green enters the weekend sixth in scoring and 10th in field goal percentage (.497). He sits behind UMC’s Harrison Cleary as the top true freshman scorers in the league. Best ranks three spots ahead of Green for field goal percentage, averaging .516 shooting per game.
Scouting Minot State
- Minot State split a pair of NSIC road games, falling 81-66 at Minnesota State University, Mankato before rebounding for a 74-70 win at Concordia University-St. Paul. The Beavers led 34-33 at the Mavericks, but were outscored 48-32 in the second half. MiSU also led 34-33 at CSP, but were able to pull away in the second half while outscoring the Golden Bears, 40-37. Minot State hit 12 3-pointers against Concordia-St. Paul, the second highest total of the season, making nearly half of the Beavers’ 26 total field goals from beyond the arc.
- Tyler Rudolph added another double-double to his resume, scoring 17 points and adding 11 rebounds in the loss to the Mavericks. He finished with 51 points and 20 rebounds on the weekend. Nathan Mertens averaged 12.0 points, 4.0 assists and 2.5 rebounds for the weekend, dishing out seven assists in the win against CSP. Russ Davis knocked down 8-of-13 shots from the field, all coming by way of 3-pointers. He sank six from long range against CSP for an 18-point night, giving him a team-leading 51 treys on the season. Luis Ricci Maia struggled to score most of the weekend, but hit two key 3-pointers against CSP. He sank a long 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer and another with less than one minute to finish with 10 points against the Golden Bears.
- U-Mary snapped a six-game losing streak with a weekend sweep over Concordia-St. Paul, 87-75, and Minnesota State, 75-61. The Marauders moved into sole possession of fourth place in the NSIC North with a 7-11 overall record and 5-7 mark in conference play. The Marauders win versus the Mavericks was the first ever in the Taylor Center. U-Mary has won two straight against both CSP and MSU after defeating them both in the NSIC tournament last spring.
- Senior guard Damonta Henry averaged 16.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, finishing the weekend 10-for-21 from the floor, six-for-eight from beyond the arc and 7-for-11 from the charity stripe. He came off the bench to score 18 points with three assists and six rebounds in the win at CSP. He made all four 3-pointers and scored 15 points in the win against Minnesota State. Senior forward Rickey Suggs made 8-of-14 shots at CSP for a career-high 19 points and added 12 points at Minnesota State. He made 59.1 percent of his shots on the weekend. Three other Marauders averaged double-digit scoring: Senior forward Isaac Lindquist (11.5), senior guard Pat Thomas (10.5) and senior forward Bryan Jefferson (10.5).
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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).