Bemidji State Tops Valley City State, 73-64
Friday, November 22, 2002
Nov. 22, 2002
Valley City, N.D. - In keeping with recent trends, Bemidji State (1-0, 0-0 NSIC) opened up the season with a win. BSU has now gone the past four lid-lifters with a victory after a 73-64 affair against Valley City State (3-4, 0-0 DAC-10).

“Anytime you play on the road and get a win, it is good,” said head coach Jeff Guiot.

BSU got off to a quick 7-0 lead spurred by a two inside buckets by junior forward Charles Hanks (Chicago, Ill.) and senior center Ben Caron (Bemidji, Minn.) and a three-pointer by senior guard Royce Bryan (Haviland, Kan.). Foul trouble was the problem for the Beavers as Hanks had to sit early and was forced to sit out 14 minutes in the first half. In addition, Bryan and senior guard Jeff Lorenson (Cannon Falls, Minn.) were saddled with three apiece by the intermission. Clutch outside shooting and eight three-pointers were the key for BSU as it went up by as many as 14 at the 4:01 mark in the first half. With the score at 37-23, the Vikings fired back with a 13-0 run going into the locker room. Perhaps they were sparked by their own bench technical at the 4:05 mark. BSU finished the half 14-31 from the floor while Valley City State was only 9-27 (33.3%), but 15-18 from the charity stripe. The only free throws for BSU were for the technical foul.

The second frame started with VCSU notching the count at 40-40 at the 16:46 mark. Junior guard Adam Daley (Des Moines, Iowa) netted a three pointer to put BSU up for a short while. Shortly thereafter, Valley City State grabbed its first lead of the game 47-45 with 13:52 remaining. Hanks picked up his third and fourth fouls and was pulled at the 13:27 mark as BSU went with a smaller lineup. From there, the game would stay close with BSU holding no more than a five-point advantage until a 67-60 lead at 4:26. The Beavers held the Vikings scoreless for 3:19 from that point on till the home squad got within five points with 1:19 to go. The Beaver defense stepped up forcing VCSU into three key turnovers in the final two minutes.

"I think it (our defense) gave them some fits,” said Guiot. “They struggled against the zone some and turned the ball over a couple of times. They had a tough time in making the adjustment.”

Senior guard Stan Johnson (Taylorsville, Utah) tallied a game-high 23 points on 7-13 shooting in his first action as a Beaver. The Southern Utah University transfer connected on four three-pointers and added four assists and two steals. Daley chipped in 17 points while Lorenson came away with 10. Caron grabbed a game-high eight boards for the visitors.

“The bottom line is that this was our first game,” said Guiot. “We want the kids to be aggressive but let the game come to them. I think we were pressing a little too much but we are going to improve on that.”
BSU held guard Austin McCullough to two points in the second half as the VCSU guard netted 16 in the first to lead the Vikings. Luke Merrifield and Travis Knutson had 13 and 11, respectively.

The Beavers travel to take on the Jimmies (2-2) from Jamestown College tomorrow at 7:00 p.m.

Notes: Senior center Chris Wallin dressed for the Beavers but did not play because of a broken toe...In season-openers since the 1956-57 season, Bemidji State is 27-20 including three straight victories...Bemidji State has had the upper hand of late against Valley City State in winning six in a row including the last three on the road...The Beavers are 3-10 all-time on the road against VCSU.