Tough second half bounces lead to 69-67 loss to Augustana
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Tough second half bounces lead to 69-67 loss to Augustana
BEMIDJI, Minn. - A lid was placed on the Bemidji State University basket in the second half of the 69-67 loss to Augustana College Saturday, preventing shots that fell in the first half to rattle and roll out. The Beavers also shot poorly from the free throw line in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference game played at BSU Gymnasium.

BSU held a lead at halftime, but the shots didn’t drop in the second half and Augustana took advantage. The Vikings held a double-digit lead during the second half, but the Beavers never quit, getting within three with 12 seconds remaining, but the 3-point attempt fell short, as did the opportunity for a thrilling comeback. BSU was 13-of-22 (59.1%) from the charity stripe after entering the game as the No. 3 free throw shooting team in the nation.

“Augie made some plays and made some shots and we made some plays and missed some shots,” said head men’s basketball coach Matt Bowen. “That was the difference in the two points that we came up short. Our kids played hard, did the right stuff, we just couldn’t finish plays at opportune times.”

The Beavers got off to a quick start owning a 12-7 lead four minutes into the contest. BSU then maintained a small lead until Augie knocked down a jumper with 8:56 left in the half to take a 19-18 advantage. The Beavers responded and went on a 13-3 run to take a 31-22 lead. The stretched was sparked by back-to-back 3-pointers by junior Jake Lindstrom (G, Cottage Grove, Minn.) and capped by a freshman Jake Schalow (G, Kaukauna, Wis.) bucket from beyond the arc.

The Vikings turned the tide back to their favor to close the last four minutes of the half, going on a 10-4 run to trail by just three going into the locker room at 35-32.

Augustana started the half strong and earned a small lead - its largest lead of the game - at 47-42 six minutes into the second half. The Beavers were getting inside, but the bunny lay-ups that were falling in the first half weren’t going down.

The Vikings continued to make shots and BSU struggled and with 6:22 left owned a 12-point lead at 61-49. BSU finally started to get shots to fall and made a 8-2 run to get within six with 3:33 remaining in regulation. A free throw gave Augie a seven point lead and then 3-pointer its next possession put the lead back to 10. On the next Beaver possession, junior James Ellisor (F, Glendale, Ariz.) responded with a drive and score, while drawing a foul.

After a timeout he converted on the 3-point play to get the deficit back to seven. A sophomore Lance Rongstad (F, Eleva, Wis.) steal on the next Viking possession gave BSU the ball, which led to two free throws from junior Bryce Tesdahl (G, Crosby, Minn.). Another Bemidji State stop gave the home team a chance to make it a one possession game and that is was Ellisor did, making a jumper in the paint to get BSU within three at 67-64 with 42 ticks remaining.

The Beavers took a timeout and schemed a plan to try and get the ball back. BSU pressured the Vikings hard, trying for a steal and forced Augie to take two time outs before even setting up its offense. With the shot clock winding down Ellisor came up big on the defensive end and blocked a shot. Rongstad picked up the rebound and passed it Ellisor up the court. With time running down Ellisor handed it off to a trailing Rongstad beyond the 3-point line, but his attempt was short and a scrum for the rebound resulted in Augustana ball out-of-bounds at the baseline.

BSU fouled the in-bounds pass and after two successful free throws to make a two possession game, Tesdahl brought the ball up the court and drained a 3-pointer with one second left. Augie passed the ball in and avoided getting fouled and the game was over.  

Lindstrom led the Beavers in scoring for the first time this season, earning 15 points, while adding four rebounds. Ellisor totalled 14 points, four rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Both Tesdahl and sophomore Mason Walters (F, Milton, Wis.) finished with 11 points. Rongstad was held scoreless for the first time since his first collegiate game where he saw the floor for less than a minute.

The Beavers host Wayne State College tomorrow at 4 p.m. 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).