BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The opening game for the Bemidji State men’s basketball team in the 2017 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference/Sanford Health Tournament will be a true post-season test while traveling to face reigning NCAA Division II National Champion Augustana University. BSU (10-17, 8-14 NSIC) and Augie (21-7, 16-6 NSIC) are scheduled to tip-off at 8 p.m. from the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.
The Series vs. Augustana
- With a history that dates back to 1966, Bemidji State and Augustana have met only 18 times. The Vikings lead the all-time series, 12-6, and have won 10 of the last 12 and the last four meetings, including a 78-60 victory in Sioux Falls, S.D., Feb. 4.
- The Beavers held a 34-32 lead at halftime before the Vikings took the final lead of the night with two baskets out of the break. BSU tied the game at 48-48 before Augie broke away over the final 12:32 of play. Augustana held Bemidji State to 3-for-15 shooting from the field while going on a 30-12 run to end the game.
Fast Break Bemidji State
- BSU was swept during the final weekend of the regular season to University of Mary and Minot State University. Bemidji State saw a chance to host a playoff game slip away Friday in a 87-82 loss to U-Mary. Minot State stole an 86-69 win from Bemidji State Saturday on Senior Day.
- Bemidji State took a 48-44 lead into halftime but saw U-Mary take its first lead of the game at 50-48. BSU opened the second half 0-for-4 from the field but were able to take the lead back twice, going up by as many as eight. The Marauders sank 18-of-26 from the free throw line in the second half compared to 5-of-9 for the Beavers.
- Freshman forward Lucas Wendt led BSU with 19 points off the bench, 11 coming in the second half. The Beavers’ bench totaled 41 points, including 12 points from senior forward Shane White and freshman guard Peyton Dibble, compared to nine for the Marauders.
- Junior guard Sharif Black helped BSU attempt a second-half comeback Saturday night after trailing Minot State, 38-24, at halftime. He scored 13 of his team-high 20 points in the second half and helped BSU cut an 18-point deficit, 50-32, down to six, 64-58, with 7:41 to go. MiSU went on a 10-0 run three minutes later to pull away.
- Black sank 7-of-15 field goals and 5-of-7 from the free throw line to finish with the team lead in scoring. He tied a season-high eight assists and pulled down four rebounds. Freshman guard Jai’Vionne Green followed Black with 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the floor.
- Green continues to lead BSU in scoring with 16.6 points per game, which ranks sixth in the NSIC. Black and Best follow behind with 12.1 points and 11.9 points per game, respectively. Best paces the Beavers on the boards with 5.1 per game and 138 total on the season.
- Augustana ended the regular season with a pair of home wins to extend its current win streak to six games. On Friday night against Winona State University, Augustana jumped out to a 9-2 lead and never trailed while picking up a 97-70 win. Augie went to overtime with Upper Iowa University and came away with a 92-87 win on Senior Night.
- The Vikings’ win over the Warriors gave them their 20th victory of the season, marking the seventh time in the last 10 seasons Augustana has won 20 games. Augie has won 20 or more games in three straight seasons. Augustana out-rebounded Winona State 40-23 and finished the game shooting 48.3 percent from the field. The Vikings knocked down 11-of-26 from 3-point range, making three straight games with at least 10 or more 3-pointers.
- Upper Iowa held a seven-point advantage over Augustana at halftime and came out in the second half matching every Viking attempt to close the gap. Augie broke through with an 11-3 run to tie the game with 16:10 remaining. The Vikings came out firing in overtime, hitting 4-of-5 shots, including a pair of 3-pointers, to build a six-point lead at 86-80.
- Mike Busack averaged a double-double with 24.5 points and 11.5 rebounds during the wins. Busack shot 48.6 percent (17-of-35) from the field and hit 11 3-pointers while shooting 52.4 percent from beyond the arc. Zach Huisken finished in double-figure scoring each night with 15 points against WSU and a career-high 18 against UIU.
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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).