BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University men’s basketball program travels Friday and Saturday to conclude a four-game road trip while facing University of Sioux Falls and Southwest Minnesota State University. The Beavers open the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference South Division games at 8 p.m. Jan. 12 against the Cougars followed by the finale at 7 p.m. Jan. 13 against the Mustangs.
- The young series between Bemidji State and Sioux Falls continues Friday with the seventh all-time meeting between the two programs. The Cougars lead the all-time series that began Nov. 20, 2011, 4-2. After BSU won the first two games of the series, USF has won the last four, including a 78-71 final last season in Bemidji, Minn.
- The trio of Sharif Black, Jai’Vionne Green and Christian Pekarek each scored in double-digits during last season’s meeting against USF, as all three combined for 42 points. Green led the way with 16 points off the bench while Pekarek followed with 14 and Black came in with 12. Pekarek also dished out six assists and sank three 3-pointers.
- The Bemidji State/Southwest Minnesota State series dates back to Dec. 7, 1968 which began with eight BSU wins in the first nine meetings. The Mustangs lead the all-time series, 52-41, while the Beavers won the last meeting, 96-86, on Jan. 14, 2017.
- BSU overcame a 48-42 deficit at halftime to upset SMSU, who had received votes in the NABC Top 25 Poll, and outscore the Mustangs in the second half, 54-38. All five BSU starters scored in double-figures, led by Green with 25 which was a career high for the sophomore at the time. Pekarek recorded a double-double with 19 points and 10 assists while sophomore guard Jacob McNallan scored 11 points and sophomore forward Logan Bader recorded 10.
Fast Break Bemidji State
- Bemidji State was swept to start a four-game road trip to St. Cloud State, 77-72, and Minnesota Duluth, 62-57. The loss to SCSU was the second of the season by BSU while the loss to UMD created a split in the season series after a 73-63 win by BSU Dec. 1, 2017.
- BSU held a 72-68 lead with just under seven minutes remaining in the game before SCSU went on a 9-0 run to finish the second half of the weekend-opening game. The Beavers shot 45.6 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from beyond the arc but were outrebounded, 40-32.
- Black recorded his second 20-point game in three contests while leading the Beavers with 21 points against the Huskies. All but one BSU starter scored in double-figures as Green recorded 19 points, Bader scored 13 and Pekarek totaled 12.
- In the weekend finale, neither team led by more than five points throughout the entire game, while UMD also finished the night on a 9-0 run to take the win. Bemidji State shot 37.5 percent from the floor, 37.5 percent from long range and 81.8 percent from the free throw line but was again outrebounded, 38-33.
- Pekarek led BSU in scoring against UMD with 16 points on 5-for-10 shooting from the floor while also adding six rebounds and four assists. Freshman forward Derek Thompson was the only other Beaver to score in double-digits as he totaled 15 points on 5-for-9 shooting. Freshman forward Zach Baumgartner led the Beavers on the boards with nine rebounds in 10 minutes of action off the bench.
- The Beavers enter the weekend sixth in the NSIC with 72.6 points allowed per game and 14th with 70.9 points scored per game. Bemidji State’s 43.7 percent field goal defense comes in fourth in the league compared to its 44.8 percent shooting offense that comes in 14th.
- Black enters his second week as BSU’s leading scorer this season as he averages 13.6 points per contest. Black’s mark ranks him 21st in the conference while Green follows close behind in 26th with 12.7 points per game. Pekarek is a key factor in BSU’s scoring as he leads the team and ranks tied for seventh in the NSIC with 3.9 assists per game. He also ranks sixth in the league with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.6.
Scouting Sioux Falls
- Sioux Falls took a split to open 2018 after a 77-72 win at Upper Iowa University and a 72-70 loss at Winona State University. The Cougars enter Friday’s game with a 10-5 record overall and 6-4 mark in the NSIC.
- USF outrebounded opponents in 12 of 15 games, lead the NSIC in rebounding at 39.7 per game with a league-high 7.7 rebounding margin and 29.5 defensive rebounds per game. The Cougars rank third in the conference at 81.1 points per game with nine games of 80 points or more.
- USF is 4-0 in overtime games this season, outscoring its opponents, 53-29, in extra time. Sioux Falls is also undefeated at 9-0 in games in which four USF players have reached double-figure scoring.
- Junior forward Drew Guebert combined for 48 points on the weekend to move into 23rd place all-time on USF’s scoring list. He finished the weekend ranked second in the NSIC with 22.3 points per game. Junior guard Trevon Evans averaged 19 points per game after scoring 28 against Upper Iowa and 10 versus Winona State.
Scouting Southwest Minnesota State
- Southwest Minnesota State also split to open the calendar year with a 78-75 loss at Winona State and an 86-84 win at Upper Iowa. The Mustangs enter the weekend with an 11-5 record overall and 7-3 mark in the NSIC.
- SMSU rallied from a 17-point first half deficit to overcome UIU. Junior guard Ryan Bruggeman hit the game-winning field goal with 1.6 seconds left to beat the Peacocks on the road. Bruggeman and senior guard KJ Davis each scored 17 points in the win at Upper Iowa.
- Senior center Carter Kirk scored 19 points with 11 rebounds in the loss at Winona State. The Mustangs made just 5-of-22 from 3-point range at the Warriors.
- Bruggeman averaged 19.5 points per game and shot 52 percent from the field over the weekend. Kirk averaged 13.5 points and 10 rebounds and has a team-high six double-doubles this season.
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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).