Beavers host SMSU and No. 14 MSU in final home weekend of 2010-11
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Beavers host SMSU and No. 14 MSU in final home weekend of 2010-11

This Week: The Bemidji State University men’s basketball team plays host Feb. 18-19 in two  Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference contests versus Southwest Minnesota State University (8 p.m.) and No. 14 Minnesota State University, Mankato (6 p.m.) to close out its home schedule.

Live stats at home:

Watch all home and NSIC games on the web live and for free on New Media TV:

Senior Day: The Beavers will honor one senior, Patrick Cassidy, before Saturday’s game against Minnesota State. A captain this season, Cassidy has posted career figures in points, blocks, steals, minutes, field goal percentage and 3-point field goal percentage. He has played in more than 100 games at BSU with 7.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per game, shooting 49.8 percent from the field.         
About Bemidji State:
The men’s basketball team owns an 8-14 overall and 5-13 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference record to sit 13th. The Beavers snapped a seven-game losing skid Feb. 11 at University of Minnesota, Crookston with a 85-78 victory. BSU made a program and conference record 40 free throws in the contest with sophomore Lance Rongstad  making a program-best 18 of them. The Beavers then fell prey to Minnesota State University Moorhead’s 13 3-pointers, losing 70-62 after holding a nine-point lead in the first five minutes of the second half.
• BSU is No. 3 nationally (games thru Feb. 13) in free throw shooting this season, hitting at a 79.8 percent clip from the line. Sophomore Lance Rongstad is No. 15 nationally with a 89.4 percentage from the line.
• Junior Bryce Tesdahl leads the NSIC and is 10th in the nation in assists, dishing out 5.8 per game. He has three 10+ assist games this season.

About Southwest Minnesota State: The Mustangs are 11-12 overall and 8-11 in NSIC play to sit tied for eighth in the standings. SMSU has played a total of five overtime periods in the last five games, going 2-3. The Mustangs are winners of their last two games, downing Concordia-St. Paul 89-86 (2OT) and running past St. Cloud State 71-58. Senior Scott Roehl is the team’s points (14.9 ppg) and rebounds (10.0 rpg) leader and is the reigning NSIC Player of the Week.     

Series History:
The Beavers are 33-51 all-time against the Mustangs and are 0-8 in the last eight meetings, including a 78-62 loss earlier this season in Marshall. In the last meeting at BSU Gymnasium Jan. 31, 2009, SMSU won 66-54.      

About Minnesota State:
The No. 14 Mavericks are 20-3 overall and own a 16-3 overall record that is good for first in the NSIC and the region. MSU picked-up its 20th win Friday against St. Cloud State to secure its seventh consecutive 20-plus win season. The Mavericks are led by senior Jefferson Mason’s 19.1 points and eight rebounds per game. MSU is the top scoring offense in NSIC games this season with 82.6 points per game, while allowing just 73.5 points per contest.             

Series History:
BSU is 33-62 all-time against the Mavericks and are winless in the last 22 contests, dating back to Jan. 18, 1969 in Mankato, Minn. when BSU won 62-56. The Beavers lost 87-82 in Mankato earlier this season. Then-No. 13 MSU won the last game in Bemidji, 84-66 Jan. 30, 2009.

NSIC Preseason Poll:
The Bemidji State University men’s basketball team finished last season winners in five of its last six games, en route to a 12-15 overall and 8-12 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference mark, good for 11th place in the final conference standings. The 12 wins was the most under fifth-year head coach Matt Bowen, as BSU has increased its win total in each of his seasons at the helm. On Oct. 20, the 2010-11 edition of the NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll was released, slotting the Beavers 10th with 64 points.

BSU’s NSIC Preseason Player to Watch: Patrick Cassidy
is the lone senior on a team that sports four juniors (two transfers), eight sophomores and four freshmen. He will be asked to provide leadership on and off the court, while concentrating on being consistent offensively and defensively. Last season Cassidy played and started in 26 games, averaging 26.3 minutes per contest. He posted 8.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, while shooting 51.2 percent from the field. Cassidy has endured the growing pains of a Bemidji State basketball program that has improved its record in each of the last four seasons, going 12-15 last season. He has played in 80 games in the green in white, averaging 7.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per game, while shooting 48.1 percent from the field.

Making Strides:
Head coach Matt Bowen has increased BSU’s win total every season over his past four years. The Beavers won five games in his first campaign, six in his second, eight in 2008-09 and 12 last season. In 2009-10, the eight NSIC victories was the most under Bowen.

Welcome to BSU: The Beavers welcome six newcomers to the squad this season, including two junior college transfers. Coming to Bemidji via Glendale Community College are James Ellisor and Ryan Kinnell. Four true freshmen join the squad from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Alaska in Zach Noreen  (Albany HS, Minn.), Maxie Rosenbloom (Johnson HS, Minn.), Jake Schalow (Kaukauna HS, Wis.) and Jeff Whicker (King HS, Alaska).
    Ellisor is leading the team in scoring with 16.8 points and 6.8 rebounds in 31.7 minutes, while shooting 58.0 percent from the field. He scored 25 points in the opener, adding a team-high six rebounds.

Roaring 20’s: Ellisor has eight games scoring the 20’s, including a team season-high 28 point performance Feb. 5 versus Minnesota Duluth. Last season BSU had 15 games with an individual in the 20’s, led by Seth Haake’s eight. This season, five players have combined for 15 games with 20 points or more.

900 Program Wins:
In a 88-63 victory against Minnesota, Crookston at the BSU Gymnasium Dec. 4 the Beavers recorded their 900th program win.

Century Mark:
The Beavers eclipsed the 100 point mark Jan. 3 in a 101-76 road rout of Minnesota Duluth. The accomplishment marked the 57th time in program history and third time under head coach Matt Bowen BSU has reached the century mark. It was just the 11th time the team has scored 100 points or more on the road.

Doubling-Up: Four different Beavers have combined for seven double-doubles this season. Last season the team produced just two.
• Junior Bryce Tesdahl recorded his second-career double-double with a team-high 23 points and 10 assists at Finlandia Nov. 17.
     His second double-double of the season came in an overtime loss to St. Cloud State Jan. 14. He scored 12 points and added 10 assists.
• Junior James Ellisor recorded his first double-double as a Beaver versus UW-Stout Nov. 23, scoring 13 points and adding 11 rebounds.         His second double-double came in an 83-80 loss to Upper Iowa Dec. 11, scoring 21 points and adding 11 rebounds.
    In a 63-53 win against WSC Jan. 9, he recorded 14 points and a season-high 13 rebounds.
• Sophomore Mason Walters earned his first-career double-double Jan. 3 at Minnesota Duluth, posting career-highs in points (19) and rebounds (11).
• Sophomore Lance Rongstad recorded a career-high 13 rebounds at Minnesota Duluth Jan. 3, while adding 11 points for his second-career double-double.

Helping Hand:
With a dish to senior Patrick Cassidy in the opening minutes of the 87-82 loss to No. 15 Minnesota State Jan. 21, junior Bryce Tesdahl became the school’s career assist leader (1976-present). The assist was the 315th of his career, surpassing David Lee (1984-88). This season he is first in the league and 10th in the nation in assists (5.8 apg). He has three 10+ assist games this season and five in his career. His 127 assists this season sits seventh on BSU’s top season assists chart.
    Last season Tesdahl finished second in the NSIC in assists, averaging 5.1 assists per game. He totaled 137 assists in the season, finishing fourth on BSU’s all-time single-season chart.

BSU’s Top Career Assist Totals (1976-Present)
#    Assists    Player    Seasons

1.    349    Bryce Tesdahl    2008-SA

BSU’s Top Season Assists
#    Assists    Player    Season    Avg.

1.    167    James Roberson    2003-04    5.6
2.    145    Royce Bryan    2001-02    5.1
3.    142    Tyrone Terrill    1975-76    5.9
4.    137    Bryce Tesdahl    2009-10    5.1
5.    135    James Roberson    2004-05    5.0
6.    129    Kevin Nichols    1993-94    5.0
7.    127    Bryce Tesdahl    2010-11    5.8

Thanks for the Charity:
The Beavers are the No. 3 team in the Division II nation in free throw percentage (as of the Feb. 13 NCAA Statistics Summary), shooting 79.8 percent from the charity stripe. Sophomore Lance Rongstad’s 89.4 percent guides the team and is 15th in the nation.  
Thanks for the Charity x40:
The Beavers made 40 of its 49 attempts from the free throw line in a 85-78 victory at Minnesota, Crookston Feb. 11 to establish a program and NSIC record for free throws made in a game. BSU surpassed the previous record of 39 set by Southwest Minnesota State in 1971 and tied by Northern State earlier this season against Bemidji State. Rongstad made 18-of-20 to break the program record for free throws made and tie the free throws attempted mark.

Battle for the Boards:
In all eight of BSU’s wins this season it has outrebounded its opponent and owns a 8-4 record when doing so. But one category the Beavers have struggled in this season is the offensive glass. BSU is getting outrebounded 243-199 in offensive rebounds, resulting in a difference of 250-223 in second chance points.    

Gotta Win the Close Ones: In a league as competitive as the NSIC, winning the close games is crucial to separate the non-playoff teams from the postseason contenders. This season, the Beavers are 1-6 in games decided by five points or less, pushing them to the 13th spot in the league standings.