Augustana shades Bemidji State, 74-70, at South Dakota State tournament
Friday, November 29, 2002
Nov. 29, 2002
BROOKINGS, S.D. - [box score] Bemidji State's men's basketball team failed to protect an eight-point lead with 5:43 to play in the second half en route to a 74-70 loss to Augustana in the first round of the South Dakota State Thanksgiving Classic.

The Beavers shot lights out in the first half, hitting on 17 of 31 shots from the field (.548), including four of 11 from beyond the three-point arc (.364), while holding Augustana to just .429 on 12 of 28 from the floor. But BSU could not sustain the hot shooting, falling off to 12 of 31 (.387) in the second half and missing 13 of 17 shots from three-point range, as Augustana rallied in the second half mostly on the strength of outstanding free-throw shooting.

Augustana took advantage of a 25-12 BSU advantage in personal fouls for the game, hitting on 24 of 30 free-throws, including 19 of 24 in the decisive second half. Seven of Augustana's final nine points down the stretch in the contest came from the foul stripe.

BSU led by eight points, 65-57, on a bucket from Charles Hanks with 5:43 to play in the contest. Augustana, sparked by back-to-back conventional three-point plays from Justin Vortherms and Cody Levinson, put together a 12-0 run and held the Beavers off the scoreboard until Stan Johnson's layup with 49 seconds to play pulled BSU within a deuce, 69-67. But Michael Snell hit two free throws for Augustana with 27 seconds to play after Jeff Lorenson's fifth foul of the contest to put it back up by four. Royce Bryan hit a three-point basket for BSU with eight seconds to play to get BSU within 72-70, but Rod Henry's back-to-back free throws with four seconds sealed the win for Augustana.

The loss overshadowed a huge game from BSU's Ben Caron, who finished with a game-high 18 points on eight of 11 shooting from the floor and game-high 12 rebounds. He also had an assist, a blocked shot and two steals.

Hanks finished with16 points and four rebounds for BSU, but fouled out during Augustana's run in the final minutes of the second half; Stan Johnson was held to six points and two rebounds after averaging 21.0 points per game in BSU's first three contests.

Vortherms and Levinson led Augustana with 14 points apiece, while Michael Smellie had 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds.

Augustana held a dominant advantage on the glass, out-rebounding BSU 37-29, including 12-9 off the offensive glass.

The loss dropped Bemidji State to 2-2 on the season, while Augustana improved to 3-1. BSU will tackle tournament host South Dakota State tomorrow evening to wrap up its play at the Thanksgiving Classic. Opening tip-off from Frost Arena in Brookings is slated for 8 p.m. Central time.