BEMIDJI, Minn. -- Bemidji State University men’s hoops is seeking revenge while hosting Concordia University-St. Paul and Minnesota State University Mankato at BSU Gymnasium Jan. 27-28. The Beavers (7-12, 5-9 NSIC) will first attempt to split the 2016-17 season series with an 8 p.m. tip-off against the Golden Bears Friday before trying to avenge a 2016 NSIC Tournament loss to the Mavericks (13-7, 8-6 NSIC) with a 6 p.m. tip-off Saturday.
The Series vs. Concordia-St. Paul
- The Beavers and Golden Bears will play the 31st game of the series that began Jan. 15, 2000 in St. Paul, a 51-49 win by CSP. Concordia-St. Paul holds a slim lead in the series record, 16-14, and have won the last four meetings against Bemidji State with a 70-58 victory Nov. 17. Freshman guard Jai’Vionne Green recorded his first career 20-point game in the first meeting this season to lead BSU in scoring. Junior guard Sharif Black was the only other Beaver in double-digit scoring with 10 points.
The Series vs. Minnesota State
- Bemidji State and Minnesota State’s history dates back to Jan. 27, 1933 and spans 103 games. The Mavericks lead the all-time record, 67-35, and most recently knocked the Beavers out of the 2016 NSIC Tournament with an 81-71 win in Mankato. Prior to the exit from the tournament, BSU stole a 75-74 overtime win from MSU in Mankato, Minn., as senior forward Ben Best recorded 15 points, four rebounds and three assists.
Fast Break Bemidji State
- Bemidji State split its previous weekend on the road, opening with a 79-71 loss at Minot State University and closing with a 78-67 win at University of Mary. BSU currently sits one game behind MiSU and U-Mary for the fourth and fifth spots in the NSIC North Division standings. Minot State holds the tiebreaker over Bemidji State, while BSU holds a tiebreaker over U-Mary, although BSU will play both teams once more to end the regular season.
- BSU played from behind during the majority of the first half, 16:02 in total, before heading into halftime with a 28-28 tie. Bemidji State took its first lead since midway in the first half early in the second, which was quickly overtaken by Minot State with a 19-9 run. Best, Green and Black helped BSU erase the 11-point deficit to tie the game with just minutes to go. Minot State hit its next three field goals and sank 10-of-10 free throws over the final minutes to seal the game.
- Best led BSU with 20 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the floor and grabbed eight rebounds. Four Beavers reached double-digit scoring in total, as Black recorded 13 points, Green totaled 12 and freshman forward Logan Bader scored 10.
- Bemidji State and Minot State shot nearly identical percentages from the field, as BSU hit .459 from the floor compared to .467 for MiSU. Bemidji State won the rebound margin, 35-34, but Minot State took advantage of 11 BSU turnovers for 16 points.
- Three-point shooting and production off the bench helped the Beavers rebound against the Marauders for their fourth win in the last six games. Bemidji State and U-Mary stayed close throughout the first half before heading to halftime with a 29-29 tie. The Beavers took the final lead of the night following a layup by Black, a missed 3-pointer by U-Mary and freshman guard Peyton Dibble’s first 3-pointer of the night with 13:24 to go in the game. Black recorded his 12th and 13th points of the night to give BSU its first double-digit lead, 71-61, and finished the game scoring seven of the Beavers’ final nine points of the game.
- Black led BSU with 18 points, including sinking eight-of-nine free throws, while adding six rebounds and four assists. Junior guard Christian Pekarek followed with 12 points, five rebounds, four assists and one steal while senior forward Shane White led the BSU bench with 11 points on four-of-five shooting.
- The Beavers outshot the Marauders from the field, 43.9 percent to 42.4, and held a 32-19 advantage in points off the bench. BSU allowed just five Marauders to score, including one bench player. Bemidji State converted four more 3-pointers than U-Mary, sinking 9-of-23 from beyond the arc compared to 5-of-16 for U-Mary.
- After scoring in single-digits for just the second game this season against the Marauders, Green continues to lead the Beavers with 16.7 points per game. His per-game scoring average ranks him seventh in the NSIC and second among true freshman, while his .479 field goal percentage ranks him 14th. Best is among the top 10 shooters in the league, ranking eight with a .517 field goal percentage.
It’s a Slam Dunk, Don’t Drive Drunk
- Bemidji State’s basketball programs will be hosting “It’s a Slam Dunk, Don’t Drive Drunk” Saturday versus Minnesota State. The fifth annual campaign, which started in 2013, will commemorate Drake Bigler, the five-month-old son of Southwest Minnesota State University men’s head coach Brad Bigler, who was killed by a drunk driver in 2012.
- During the night, NSIC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) members will be collecting signatures from fans pledging not to drive drunk. Over the past four years, NSIC SAAC members have collected over 30,000 signatures from fans pledging not to drive drunk. The NSIC encourages fans to support this effort and to always drive responsibly.
Scouting Concordia-St. Paul
- Concordia-St. Paul dropped its 10th and 11th straight games 81-56 at Southwest Minnesota State and 93-70 at Sioux Falls to enter the weekend eighth in the NSIC South. The Golden Bears led for much of the opening half against the Mustangs before being outscored by 25 over the final 23 minutes. CSP fell behind 23-4 in the opening six minutes against USF, as the Cougars hit their first 10 shots from the field. Concordia-St. Paul held a 21-14 edge on the offensive glass over both games despite trailing 69-62 in total rebounds.
- Bryndan Matthews led the team with 14.5 points per game while knocking down 16-of-21 over the weekend. Ahmad Newsome came off the bench to average 6.5 rebounds per game to go along with 4.5 points and 2.5 assists.
Scouting Minnesota State
- Minnesota State went 1-1 on the road last weekend as it defeated Sioux Falls, 68-67, and fell to Southwest Minnesota State, 58-56. The Mavericks sit one game back of third and fourth place in the NSIC South entering this weekend. Sophomore Cole Harper made the game-winning layup with 0.1 seconds on the clock against USF. MSU held their opponents to 40.2 percent shooting and took a 35-31 advantage in rebounds per game over the two games.
- Senior Jon Fuqua led all scorers against Sioux Falls with 20 points, which represented the fourth straight game he passed the 20-point plateau. Senior Aarias Austin averaged 13.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game while shooting 42.9 percent from the field. Sophomore Joey Witthus recorded 12.0 points and 3.5 rebounds per game while shooting 53.3 percent from the floor.
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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).