Bemidji State hammers Winona State, 106-79, in first round of NSIC Tournament
Wednesday, March 5, 2003
March 5, 2003

Beavers ride career night from Kenneth Pointer, Jamal Clements to advance to NSIC semifinals for second consecutive season

BEMIDJI, Minn. - [box score] The Bemidji State men's basketball team set Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Tournament records for scoring, field goals and field goal percentage, using career efforts from Keith Pointer and Jamal Clements to roll to a 106-79 rout of sixth-seeded Winona State in the first round of the NSIC Tournament.

BSU set Tournament standards for points scored (106; previous record, 100 by Winona State vs Minn.-Morris in 2000), field goals (37; previous record, 35 by two teams) and field goal percentage (.597; previous record .580 by Winona State vs MSU-Moorhead, 2001). The teams combined for 185 points, another NSIC Tournament record.

"This was a great win for us tonight," BSU head coach Jeff Guiot said. "I'm happy for our seniors and the rest of our team. The guys deserve all the success that comes to them. We worked hard all year, even with the injuries we've had."

Bemidji State rode a career effort from Pointer, who prior to tonight's contest had scored in double-figures just twice this season, as the freshman exploded for a career-high 20 points. Pointer dominated early, hitting on eight of eight field goal attempts for 18 points in the first half alone. Pointer had scored just 89 total points in the regular season, although he hit for a then- career-high 14 in BSU's last outing - a 102-96 win at Winona State.

Pointer's heroics led a pack of seven Beavers in double figures. Pointer was joined by Clements, who tied for game-high honors with a career-high 20 points of his own.

"Tonight was a big win for us as a team," Pointer said. "We're peaking at the right time. We work well together; we're unselfish. We'll give up a shot for others to take the wide-open shot."

Winona State held the early advantage, storming out to a 7-0 lead in the game's opening moments. John Urbach hit a three-pointer and Zach Malvik hit back-to-back two-pointers to give the Warriors the early lead just 2:10 into the contest. Adam Daley hit BSU's first bucket, a three-pointer at 17:22, and from there the teams traded baskets over the next three minutes.

Urbach hit another bucket at 15:48 to put Winona State ahead 15-9, and from there the game was all BSU as Winona State would hit just four more field goals the rest of the half.

After Urbach's bucket, Pointer's first deuce of the half lit off a 23-4 BSU scoring blitz which saw the hosts grab a 30-17 lead at the 8:21 mark of the first. Daley hit three free throws to draw BSU even for the first time, 16-16, at the 12:51 mark, and a three-pointer by Jamal Clements gave BSU its first lead, 19-16, at 12:38.

Winona found some life at 7:55, getting a pair of free throws from Malvik to snap the 23-4 scoring run and light a 13-4 run for the visitors. Even with the run, Pointer remained a factor. He hit both BSU field goals during the visitor run, including a breakaway tomahawk dunk at the 6:44 mark which brought the crowd of 1,124 to its feet.

Chris Wallin put an end to the Winona State run with a layup at 4:43, setting off a 13-3 run for BSU as the Beavers retook control of the game. Pointer hit on four field goals - including a three-pointer - during the run, which staked BSU to a 47-33 advantage.

Malvik hit a pair of threes in a span of just 28 seconds in the final 1:29 of the half to pull the Warriors within eight, 47-39, with 1:01 to play, but Pointer's second three of the half sent the Beavers into the locker room with a 50-39 edge.

Bemidji State came out on fire in the second half, hitting seven three-point field goals in the first 5:14 of the stanza - three by Royce Bryan. The streak capped a string of eight consecutive field goals for BSU from three-point range, staking the Beavers to a 19-point lead, 71-52, at the 14:46 mark. Stan Johnson's conventional three-point play at 14:28 ended the three-point bonanza, but by that time the damage was done. BSU led 74-55 after the three point play, and from there would slowly pull away. BSU built its first 30-point lead with 4:55 to play in the game after a deuce from Johnson, and led by as many as 34 points in the waning minutes.

Bemidji State finished with seven players in double figures, led by career efforts from Pointer (20 points) and Clements (20). Pointer hit on eight of nine shots from the field, hitting his first eight, and nailed both of his free throws. Clements hit on seven of nine field goals and five of five from the free-throw line, toppling his previous high of 17 points set in BSU's 118-70 win at Minnesota-Morris on Feb. 22.

Johnson added 14 for BSU, Charles Hanks had 12 and Daley, Bryan and Jeff Lorenson added 11 points apiece.

"We prepared for war all year long," Clements said after the victory. "We've lost some tough games throughout the year, but we kept our faith in each other and in Coach Guiot."

Bemidji State, which came into the contest leading the nation in three-point field goals per game at 11.1, hit 13 three-pointers tonight. Eight consecutive BSU field goals came from behind the arc at one stretch in the contest, and BSU called off the perimeter game late to foil a pursuit of the NSIC Tournament record for three pointers in a game.

The victory for Bemidji State advances the Beavers into the NSIC semi-finals for the second consecutive season. BSU will tackle Minnesota State-Moorhead in the semis, set for a 6:00 p.m. tipoff Saturday night from the Gangelhoff Center on the campus of Concordia-St. Paul. The Dragons defeated Southwest State, 70-62, tonight to advance. Bemidji State dominated in a two-game regular-season sweep of the Dragons, winning 89-60 in Bemidji on Jan. 4 and taking a 91-68 decision in Moorhead on Feb. 7.

Northern State and Minn.-Duluth will face off in the other NSIC Tournament semi-final game. Northern State downed Concordia-St. Paul, 99-65, while Minn.-Duluth toppled Wayne State, 93-63, in first-round action. The Wolves and Bulldogs play at 2:00 p.m. Saturday.

The win improves BSU to 17-11 on the season, while Winona State dropped to 11-17. It marked the second consecutive season BSU has eliminated Winona State from the NSIC Tournament.

Notes: BSU has now won six consecutive games... BSU won its fourth consecutive game in the series with the Warriors after WSU had taken eight consecutive games... Royce Bryan upped his career total to 244 assists, moving him to within three assists of second place (247, Tony Brown, 1987-'91) on the BSU career charts... Adam Daley has hit at least one trey in 17 straight games after hitting two tonight... Daley extended his own school record for three-point field goal attempts in a season to 152... BSU had 26 assists tonight, giving it 13 games with 20 or more assists this season, including each of its last seven starts... Stan Johnson moved into sole possession of fifth place on the BSU single-season assists charts with seven tonight, giving him 110 for the year... He needs 15 to move past Mike Curry (124, 1995-'96) into fourth place.