|February 21, 2018||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||BSUM||AUGIE|
|FG Percentage||.481 (26-54)||.500 (30-60)|
|3P FG Percentage||.300 (6-20)||.538 (14-26)|
|FT Percentage||.737 (14-19)||.700 (14-20)|
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Elmen Center) -- A first-half comeback set up the Bemidji State University men’s basketball team for a heartbreaking loss to Augustana University Wednesday night, 88-72, in the opening round of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Tournament in Sioux Falls, S.D. The Beavers came back from an 18-point deficit in the first half to take the lead multiple times, but the program’s season was ended after late Vikings runs.
Bemidji State’s defense was the key to overcoming a 12-0 deficit to start the game, as Augustana was nearly held scorelss over the final six minutes of the first half. The Vikings took a first-half-high 24-6 lead midway through the opening period behind hot shooting and 3-point baskets. The Beavers came back with a 9-0 run behind three-point-plays from sophomore guard Jai’Vionne Green, freshman forward Zach Baumgarter and sophomore forward Logan Bader.
Two minutes after Bader’s 3-pointer to bring the BSU deficit down to nine, 24-15, the Beavers’ offense and defense began to mesh for a comeback. Over the final 6:07 of action in the first half, BSU shot 6-for-10 from the field while holding Augie to 2-for-11 shooting. Green put in a 3-pointer with under one minute in the first half to give BSU its first lead of the game, 37-35.
Following a 39-39 tie at halftime, Green converted an and-one opportunity on the first possession to give BSU its largest lead of the game, 42-39. The Vikings were able to come back and take a four-point lead, but just before the Beavers scored on two quick possessions to retake the advantage in the game, 54-53. Free throws from senior guard Christian Pekarek gave BSU its final lead of the night, 60-59, with 9:33 in the game.
Runs of 7-1 and 9-0 by the Vikings over the next five minutes put the Beavers in an uphill battle over the final minutes of the game. Despite resiliency by Bemidji State, Augustana held on to its double-digit lead to finish the night.
Senior guard Sharif Black ended his BSU career leading the team in scoring with 22 points, followed by Green with 17. Four Beavers in total reached double-figure scoring, while Black led the team with nine rebounds and seven assists. Pekarek will leave BSU as the program’s fourth-leading assist creator with 295.
Bemidji State finished the game shooting 48.1 percent from the field, 30.0 percent from beyond the arc and 73.7 percent from the free throw line. Though the Beavers won the battle in the paint, 36-26, they gave away 16 turnovers that led to 23 Vikings points.
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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).