BEMIDJI, Minn. -- Senior Seth Haake (G, Eden Prairie, Minn.) scored a team-high 23 points to surpass 1,000 career points, guiding the Bemidji State University men’s basketball team to a thrilling 71-69 victory against University of Minnesota Duluth in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference contest at the BSU Gymnasium Saturday. BSU erased an 11-point UMD lead in the final 5:08 to play in regulation to earn the victory, holding the Bulldogs to zero points in that time span.
BSU needed its last possession to overcome UMD’s nine second half 3-pointers, getting a freshman Lance Rongstad (G, Eleva, Wis.) lay-up with 12 seconds remaining on the game clock to go ahead by two. The Bulldogs (7-11, 4-7 NSIC) forced-up a 3-point shot as time expired, but it fell short, giving the Beavers (7-10, 4-7 NSIC) back-to-back wins for the first time since Dec. 5 and 12. In the last meeting between the two teams in the BSU Gymnasium, Feb. 25, 2009, the game needed four overtime period to decide a winner. The Bulldogs prevailed with a 126-124 win that would go on to set the NSIC record for most points by a team in a game (126) and total points in a game (250).
“This was a big team win,” said head coach Matt Bowen. “Our guys were able to overcome a team that shot 14 3-pointers. We got some key stops late in the game and were fortunate to win.”
Haake now owns 1,003 career points, becoming the first BSU player to reach the milestone since All-America Charles Hanks accomplished the feat from 2001-04.
“Seth has been a quality player and our go-to guy for the last year and a half,” Bowen said. “He has tremendous skills on and off the court and will be sorely missed. I’m glad to have a model like Seth to show our young players, as we continue to build this program.”
Haake shot 7-of-10 from the floor, 3-of-4 from 3-point land and 6-of-7 from the free throw line in the game, adding five rebounds. BSU hit 8-of-15 (53.3%) 3-pointers in the game, matching UMD’s 3-point percentage, but not its output as the road team went 14-for-26 (53.8%) from downtown. Six of those bombs came in a 4:48 time span during the second half that flipped a seven point BSU lead into a nine point advantage for the Bulldogs. BSU combated the hot 3-point shooting from UMD by getting to the free throw line, going 15-of-21, while the Bulldogs were only 7-of-13.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 11-5 lead in the game’s first four minutes, but the Beavers fired-up and went on a 17-2 run to take a 22-13 lead with 9:13 reading on the clock. BSU got scoring from five different players in the run, with Haake leading the way with six. The Beavers continued to out-work UMD in the first half, holding a nine point lead with 2:51 left in the frame. The Bulldogs then closed the half with a 8-2 run, which included a 3-pointer from UMD’s Ryan Rasmussen as time expired, to cut the deficit to three heading into the locker room.
BSU was able to maintain a small lead through the first eight minutes of the second half, but then UMD started shooting the lights out of the 50-year-old BSU Gymnasium, getting 3-pointers from four different players during the game-changing run through the middle of the frame. The Bulldogs stretched their lead to 11 with 5:08 left on the clock off a Rasmussen shot from beyond the arc that gave him eight 3-pointers and 29 points in the game. The Beavers then bore-down on defense and shut-out the road team for the remainder of the game.
A Rongstad lay-up started the comeback with 4:53 left on the clock. Four-straight points from Haake that put him over the 1,000 point threshold cut the deficit to five with 3:31 remaining. Two clutch free throws from freshman Burke Lendl (F, St. Michael, Minn.) made the game a one possession contest with 2:17 left. A UMD turnover on the next trip down the court led to the biggest shot in freshman Mason Walters’ (G/F, Milton, Wis.) young career, as he tickled the twine with a 3-point dagger from atop the key to tie the game 69-69 with 2:04 ticks on the clock. Sophomore Bryce Tesdahl (G, Crosby, MInn.) earned his sixth assist on the play. BSU survived the Bulldogs’ attempt to retake the lead, which included two tries, one of which was a 3-point shot from Rasmussen. On the Beavers’ attempt earn an advantage, Rongstad turned the ball over to give UMD another chance. Haake pulled-down a rebound off missed Bulldog lay-up and started BSU’s final possession. After moving the ball around the perimitter, Lendl found Rongstad down-low and he redeemed his turnover with a lay-up with just 12 seconds left. All game, UMD had been doing a good job of collapsing on Rongstad in the low post, but this time it was a free pass to the hoop. Instead of driving the lane and forcing a foul, the Bulldogs stuck with their bread and butter of the evening and tried for a 3-point shot that would win the game. Fortunataly for BSU, UMD didn’t hit its 15th 3-pointer of the game and the Beavers held on to victory.
Rongstad finished with 15 points in the game. Walters contributed 12 points and three rebounds, shooting 2-of-3 from 3-point land. Tesdahl had eight rebounds, six assists and four points. BSU was 47.1 percent from the field and UMD was 39.3 percent.
The Beavers travel to Minnesota State University, Mankato and Southwest Minnesota State University Jan. 29-30, with both games slated for 8 p.m.
State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II
institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference