Beavers fall 60-58 to MSU Moorhead in NSIC opener
Friday, December 3, 2010
Beavers fall 60-58 to MSU Moorhead in NSIC opener
BEMIDJI, Minn. - Owning an eight point lead with 7:43 remaining in regulation, the Bemidji State University men’s basketball thought it was on its way to opening Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play with a ‘W’. Minnesota State University Moorhead had a different idea, as it rallied to outscore BSU 20-10 in the final 7:43 to spoil the evening at the BSU Gymnasium.

The Beavers can point to a number of things that contributed to the loss, but the blaring statistics were allowing 19 offensive rebounds, while only pulling down one and giving MSUM 24 more shots in the game. During the cold streak in the final 7:43, BSU committed five turnovers that resulted in 11 points. Despite allowing the rally by the Dragons, the Beavers had multiple opportunities to score and retake the lead and momentum, including a couple shots that touched every piece of the iron before spinning out.

“We did not execute at key moments of the game on both the offense and defense end and it came back to bite us,” said head coach Matt Bowen. “We had some good looks and they just didn’t go in. I thought there were several times in the first half and maybe a time or two in the second half where we could have stretched (the lead) to 12 or 15 and really give ourselves a cushion. Give MSU Moorhead credit, every time we tried to do that they came back with a little run and eventually we just came up dry.”

The Beavers started the game working both ends of the floor, jumping out to an 18-8 lead with 6:49 left in the half. MSU Moorhead then found a rhythm and was able to cut the deficit to three by the halftime buzzer at 26-23.

BSU came out the of locker room determined to take the conference opener, going on a 5-0 run to gain an eight point lead with three minutes gone in the half. MSU Moorhead responded with an 8-3 run that cut the home lead to three with 13 minutes left in regulation.  Sophomore Lance Rongstad (Eleva, Wis.) ended the run with an individual effort, making a free throw after a lay-up, converting on a three-point play

The Beaver lead hung right around five for the next five minutes, until a junior Jake Lindstrom (Cottage Grove, Minn.) dagger from beyond the arc gave BSU a 48-40 advantage with just under eight showing on the clock. The Beavers would then run cold and MSU Moorhead took advantage, going on a 9-0 run, seven of which were scored by Tarell Clark, to give the Dragons their first lead since owning a 4-3 advantage 3:30 into the game.

BSU committed four turnovers during the MSU Moorhead run, forcing a timeout by Bowen. Out of the timeout Rongstad was fouled and two free throws later the lead was back to BSU. The Dragons regained the advantage on an inside play, then forced another turnover and hit a deep 3-pointer to nab the four point lead with just under three minutes to go. On the other end of the floor Tesdahl knocked down two free throws to cut the visitor lead in half.

Junior forward James Ellisor (Glendale, Ariz.) stole the ball on the ensuing Dragon possession and was fouled going to the hoop. Ellisor was a perfect 21-for-21 from the charity stripe entering the game, but missed his first free throw in the first half of the game. With 2:20 on the clock and an opportunity to knot the game 54-54, Ellisor missed both free throws. Senior forward Patrick Cassidy (St. Paul, Minn.) grabbed the offensive rebound, the only one for the BSU in the game, and dished it out to an open junior guard Bryce Tesdahl (Crosby, Minn.), who is normally cold-blooded in those situations, but his shot rattled out an the ball went back to MSUM.

After a missed jumper, sophomore forward Mason Walters (Milton, Wis.) came down with the rebound and 17 seconds later Ellisor had a 3-point shot to take the lead, but it came up short and the ball again went the other way. MSUM converted on a lay-up to take a four point lead with 52 ticks left. BSU stayed within a possession for the final minute, getting big 3-point shots from Tesdahl and Walters, playing the foul game to its advantage. Tesdahl had the last ditch effort with four seconds left, getting down the court and having his jumper bang off the backboard and skim the rim, again just missing the opportunity for the win.

Walters led BSU in the scoring column for the first time in his career with 16 points, shooting 5-of-9 from the field, 3-of-5 from beyond the arc and 3-for-3 from the line. He also added four rebounds and three assists. Tesdahl had 12 points and eight assists.

The Beavers (3-2, 0-1 NSIC) host University of Minnesota, Crookston at 6 p.m. tomorrow at the BSU Gymnasium.

Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).