|February 11, 2017||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||BSUM||NSU|
|FG Percentage||.362 (21-58)||.324 (24-74)|
|3P FG Percentage||.389 (7-18)||.241 (7-29)|
|FT Percentage||.778 (14-18)||.800 (4-5)|
Pekarek - 2
Arvidson - 2
Evans - 2
Best - 1
ABERDEEN S.D. (Wachs Arena) -- With a playoff push in full effect, the Bemidji State University men’s basketball team stepped up to the challenge with a 63-59 win at Northern State University. BSU’s (10-15, 8-12 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) victory was the first over NSU (19-7, 15-5 NSIC) in Aberdeen, S.D., since 2010.
With one full weekend of regular season action remaining, Bemidji State needed a win to keep pace for a chance to finish fourth in the NSIC North Division and ensure a home playoff game during the first round of the conference postseason. Freshman guard Jai’Vionne Green and junior guard Christian Pekarek provided first-half offensive power with over 10 points each in the opening period, but it was the defensive play of the team in the second half that sealed its second consecutive season with double-digit wins.
Green totaled 15 of his 21 points during the first half while Pekarek scored 11 of his 16 in the opening period. BSU held NSU to 22.0 percent, 9-for-41, shooting from the field in the second half for just 19 points. The Beavers’ bench chipped in on the offensive side throughout the game, outscoring the Wolves’ bench 19-4.
Pekarek opened the game with eight of BSU’s first 10 points, a 3-pointer cutting NSU’s five-point lead to two seven minutes into action. The Wolves went on an 8-2 run following Pekarek’s score to take a first-half-high eight-point lead, 20-12. BSU saw an eight-point deficit twice more over the next three minutes before going on a run to retake a lead.
Freshman guard Jake McNallan and Pekarek hit back-to-back 3-pointers to begin a 14-3 run for the Beavers, with the final eight points of the run being scored by Green. Following a 31-28 lead by BSU with six minutes until halftime, NSU went on a 10-0 run spanning a stretch of just over two minutes. Bemidji State finished the half on a 6-2 run, capped by two free throws by Green to end the period, to head into halftime trailing Northern State, 40-37.
The Wolves took a game-high 10-point lead five minutes into the second half, 49-39, but finished with just 10 points over the remainder of the game. Freshman Lucas Wendt hit three of his five points on the night to cut the BSU deficit to single-digits and begin a 9-2 run over the next four minutes. NSU’s Ian Smith scored two of his team-high 21 points to snap the run but BSU continued its push for its first lead since late in the first half.
The Beavers finished with 13 of the game’s final 19 points on the night, although the Wolves trailed just two with 23 seconds in the game. Bemidji State forced Northern State to miss its final three shots from the field while Pekarek sank two free throws with five seconds in the game to seal the win.
Bemidji State returns home Feb. 17-18 for the final regular season weekend of the season as University of Mary and Minot State University enter BSU Gymnasium. The Beavers will be playing for position in the NSIC North Division standings and a potential home playoff game. U-Mary currently sits one game above BSU at the number four spot, although BSU won the first meeting between the two. Minot State is tied with BSU at 8-12 in NSIC North play, but holds the head-to-head advantage.
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).