BSU takes five-game win streak to NSIC semifinals versus Dragons
Friday, March 2, 2012
BSU takes five-game win streak to NSIC semifinals versus Dragons
Setting the Scene
Opponent: MSU Moorhead
Date: Saturday, March 3, 2012
Location: Rochester, Minn.
Tip-off: 2:30 p.m.
Gymnasium: Taylor Arena
Capacity: 4,900

Setting the Scene
Potential Opponents: WSU/SMSU
Date: Sunday, March 4, 2012
Location: Rochester, Minn.
Tip-off: 4:30 p.m.
Gymnasium: Taylor Arena
Capacity: 4,900

Local Radio: 92.1 FM The River
    Play-by-play: Mark Ricci
Internet Audio:
Local Television: MidcoSN2 / Ch. 322
    Play-by-Play: Jay Elsen
    Color: Matt Margenthaler  
Web cast:
Live stats:

The Game
The top-seeded Bemidji State men’s basketball team battles Minnesota State University Moorhead in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference/Sanford Health Men’s Basketball Tournament semifinals March 3 at 2:30 p.m. at Taylor Arena in Rochester, Minn. The winner moves on to the NSIC tournament finals March 4 at 4:30 p.m. Full NSIC Tournament bracket on page 6.
The Beavers
The Beavers have won five straight and were 7-1 in the month of February. BSU advanced to the semifinals with a 57-53 victory against Wayne State College Feb. 29 in the first round of the conference tournament. The win moved BSU to 6-0 at home in a first round playoff game in league tournament history. Senior Bryce Tesdahl knocked down a 3-pointer with 42 seconds remaining to go up two. He then came down with a defensive rebound on the other end and outlet a pass to senior James Ellisor to slam home the nail in the coffin with an easy fast break dunk. Ellisor guided the team with 14 points in the low-scoring affair, while junior Lance Rongstad had 12 points and nine rebounds.  

Fast Break
• The Beavers were ranked in the NCAA Central Region for the third consecutive week Feb. 29, earning the No. 4 spot - their highest ranking in program history. BSU has been ranked in the region by the NCAA in just three seasons in program history.
• March 1, senior James Ellisor was named NSIC Player of the Year, junior Dermaine Crockrell was named NSIC Newcomer of the Year and head coach Matt Bowen was named NSIC Coach of the Year. In addition, senior Bryce Tesdahl was named First Team All-NSIC.  
• The Beavers received two votes in the Feb. 28 NABC DII Coaches’ National Poll. The recognition marked the second time in program history and the most votes the program has ever received.
• It took the Beavers 10 games to reach the 80 point plateau until doing it in four consecutive games Dec. 16-Jan. 7. BSU is 6-1 when scoring 80 or more points this season and 15-3 when scoring 70 or more.  
• Scoring a lot isn’t an issue, as the Beavers have the third best scoring defense in the NSIC, allowing just 66.4 points per contest.
• BSU is 18-2 when leading at halftime and 20-2 when tied or having the advantage at half this season. It’s losses coming from to then-No. 17 Winona State Dec. 9 and then-No. 21 St. Cloud State Jan. 13.
• The Beavers are 7-0 after a loss this season and have a 15-6 record when winning the previous game in 2011-12.
• BSU has outrebounded its opponent 15 times this season and owns a 13-2 record when doing so. Last season the Beavers went 11-4 - all their wins - when bringing down more rebounds than their opponent.
• The Beavers have taken care of the ball this season. With an average of 10.4 turnovers per game the team leads the NSIC and ranks No. 2 in the nation.
• The Beavers have shot 50 percent or better in nine of the last 14 games and are 13-0 this season when shooting above 50 percent.  
• Ellisor leads the league and ranks No. 4 in the nation with 22.2 points per game. In other league rankings he sits first in 3-point percentage (51.6%), second in minutes per game (34.03 mpg), third in field goal percentage (57.8%),eighth in free throw percentage (85.8%), ninth in rebounding (6.6 rpg) and 15th in steals (1.14 spg).
• BSU leads the NSIC and ranks seventh in the nation in assist/turnover ratio with a 1.40 ratio. That is mostly in thanks to Tesdahl, who leads the league with a 2.70 ratio that also sits 11th in the nation. Tesdahl is the league’s leader in assists per game with 6.0 (12th nationally). He is already the program’s assist leader and has 551 career helpers.  
• As a team the Beavers are shooting 38.7 percent from beyond the arc to rank tied for third in the conference and No. 28 in the nation. In conference games only the Beavers had a 39.4 percentage from downtown to sit second.
• The Beavers are 10-3 on Saturday’s in 2011-12.
• Bowen has started seven different combinations of five this season. The line-up of Tesdahl, Crockrell, junior Lance Rongstad, Ellisor and junior Mason Walters is 10-4. BSU is 5-0 with its last line-up of Tesdahl, Crockrell, Rongstad, Ellisor and sophomore Zach Noreen.

The Dragons
The Dragons make an appearance in the semifinals of the conference tournament (since 2000) for the first time since meeting BSU in 2003 and just the second trip all-time. MSU Moorhead is 19-8 overall and finished the NSIC season 15-8 for the No. 4 seed in the tournament. MSUM used a 91-83 victory against fifth-seeded Augustana College Feb. 29 in the first round to reach the final four on the men’s side. The win broke a three-game skid for the Dragons, including losing the final two games of the season at home. MSUM has attempted more 3-pointers (591) than any other team in the league this season, but has hit a conference-best 244 and owns the top 3-point percentage at a 41.3 percent clip. The Dragons have 13 games with 10 or more 3-pointers made. MSU Moorhead has four players scoring in double-figures, led by DJ Hamilton’s 14.6 points per game. Alex Novak is scoring 11.3 points and pulling in a league-best 8.9 rebounds per game. Head coach Chad Walthall is in his second season at MSUM and is 3-1 against BSU in his career.  

All-Time Series vs the Dragons
The Dragons are the only team to defeat the Beavers twice this season, earning a Dec. 2 win in Moorhead, Minn. 77-57 and a 84-77 overtime victory at BSU Gymnasium Feb. 11. BSU has won five straight since the loss to MSUM and is 7-1 in the last eight games. The loss was also just one of two in Bemidji for the Beavers this season (13-2 at home). BSU has played the Dragons more than any other team in program history (169 times) and has a 81-88 all-time record versus MSU Moorhead. Dragon junior DJ Hamilton posted 27 and 34 points against BSU in the two meetings this year.        

Bemidji State Playoff Notes
• The Beavers are back to the NSIC Tournament for the first time since 2006-07 - head coach Matt Bowen’s first season at BSU. The Beavers were the No. 7 seed and traveled to Southwest Minnesota State (No. 2 seed) in 2006-07 and fell 86-43.
• The NSIC first had a conference tournament in 2000. The Beavers have a 6-8 all-time tournament record.
• BSU earned the No. 1 seed in 2004 after winning the 2003-04 regular season title.
• The Beavers have hosted six first round playoff games and are 6-0 in those contests.
• BSU has never won a NSIC Tournament semifinal game (0-5).
• BSU and the Dragons have met three times (BSU, 2-1), once in the semifinals.
   - 2003 semifinals, St. Paul, Minn. (Gangelhoff Center) - MSU Moorhead won 79-78 OT
   - 2004 first round, Bemidji, Minn. (BSU Gymnasium) - BSU won 75-62
   - 2006 first round, Bemidji, Minn. (BSU Gymnasium) - BSU won 76-63