Beavers set to make second NCAA appearance in program history
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Beavers set to make second NCAA appearance in program history
Setting the Scene
Opponent: St. Cloud State
Date:  Saturday, March 10, 2012
Location: Golden, Colo.
Tip-off: 1 p.m. CST
Gymnasium: Lockridge Arena
Capacity: 2,500

Setting the Scene
Potential: No. 13 Metro State/Adams State
Date: Sunday, March 11, 2012
Location: Golden, Colo.
Tip-off: 6 p.m. CST
Gymnasium: Lockridge Arena
Capacity: 2,500

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The Game
The Bemidji State men’s basketball team makes its second appearance in program history in the NCAA Tournament March 10, as the Beavers earned the No. 3 seed in the 2012 NCAA Central Region Men’s Basketball Tournament and will battle fellow Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference member No. 6 seed St. Cloud State University at 1 p.m. (Central) in Golden, Colo. at Lockridge Arena on the campus of top-seeded Colorado School of Mines. The winner advances to the second round March 11 at 6 p.m. (Central). NCAA Regional Tournament bracket on page 18 and full NCAA Division II bracket on page 32.
The Beavers
The Beavers earned the NSIC Regular Season Title and the top seed in the conference tournament with a 16-6 league mark, while their 22-8 overall record stands as a program-best for wins in 90 years of basketball at BSU. Bemidji State downed Wayne State 57-53 Feb. 29 in the first round before falling to No. 4 seed Minnesota State University Moorhead March 3, 73-64 in Rochester, Minn. BSU had won five straight until the loss to the Dragons and are 7-2 in the last nine games with both losses coming to MSUM. Region player of the year, senior James Ellisor, has 17.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game in the 2012 postseason.

Fast Break
• The Beavers are making their second appearance at the NCAA Tournament after earning an at-large bid at the No. 7 seed in 2003-04. That tournament was hosted by Metro State in Denver, Colo. BSU played Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference’s Nebraska-Kearney in the first round and lost 104-90.
• March 7, senior James Ellisor was named Daktronics, Inc. Central Region Player of the Year as a part of the All-Central Region First Team. He is the first BSU student-athlete to earn region player of the year and first region first teamer since Charles Hanks (2003-04). Senior Bryce Tesdahl earned All-Central Region Second Team honors.
• March 1, 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, Tesdahl was named First Team All-NSIC. BSU also had a player, newcomer, coach of the year and an addition first team player all in the same year in 2003-04.
• The Beavers received two votes in the Feb. 28 NABC DII Coaches’ National Poll, but did not appear in the final poll March 6. The recognition marked the second time this season BSU was in the poll 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 hasn’t been a major issue this season, as the Beavers have the third best scoring defense in the NSIC, allowing just 66.6 points per contest.
• BSU is 18-3 when leading at halftime and 20-3 when tied or having the advantage at half this season. It’s losses coming from to then-No. 17 Winona State Dec. 9, then-No. 21 St. Cloud State Jan. 13 and MSU Moorhead in the NSIC semifinals March 3.
• The Beavers are 7-0 after a loss this season and have a 15-7 record when winning the previous game in 2011-12.
• BSU has outrebounded its opponent 16 times this season and owns a 13-3 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 10.3 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 15 games and are 13-0 this season when shooting above 50 percent.  
• Ellisor leads the league and ranks No. 4 in the nation with 22.1 points per game. In other league rankings he sits second in 3-point percentage (52.3%), second in minutes per game (34.23 mpg), third in field goal percentage (58.3%), seventh in free throw percentage (85.9%), ninth in rebounding (6.6 rpg).
• BSU leads the NSIC and ranks eighth 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 2.77 ratio that also sits 9th in the nation. Tesdahl is the league’s leader in assists per game with 5.9 (13th nationally). He set the NSIC record for assists in a season with 144, BSU’s single season mark with 177 and entered his senior season as the program’s career assist leader.
• As a team the Beavers are shooting 38.4 percent from beyond the arc to rank fourth in the conference and No. 29 in the nation. In conference games only the Beavers had a 39.4 percentage from downtown to finish second.
• The Beavers are 10-4 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. In the last six games, BSU is 5-1 with its line-up of Tesdahl, Crockrell, Rongstad, Ellisor and sophomore Zach Noreen.

The Huskies:
The Huskies went 19-8 overall and 15-7 in NSIC play to finish tied for second in the league standings and earn the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament. The Huskies have lost three straight heading into the NCAA tournament, falling on the road to University of Mary 79-72 Feb. 18, at home in the regular season finale to Concordia University, St. Paul Feb. 25 by the score of 93-89 and to Winona State University 64-53 Feb. 29 in the first round of the NSIC tournament. SCSU has four players scoring in double figures, guided by All-NSIC First Team guard Shawn Jensen. He has 14.0 points per game and a team-best 4.96 assists per contest that ranks second to Tesdahl in the NSIC. Tim Bergstraser ranks second on the team in scoring (12.4 ppg), first in rebounding (7.5 rpg) and was named All-NSIC Second Team. Brett Putz has 11.9 points per game and a team-high 57 3-pointers made. Theo Rothstein has 11.9 points per game and a team-high 22 blocks. Kevin Schlagel has been the Huskies bench boss for 15 seasons and earned his 300th career victory earlier this season.

Huskies NCAA History:
SCSU is 10-12 all-time in 13 NCAA Regional appearances dating back to the 1973-74 season when they first made an appearance. The Huskies’ last appearance was in 2009-10 when they won the Central Region Tournament in Mankato. SCSU beat Metro State, MSU Mankato and Augustana College to move on the NCAA Elite Eight and eventually the Final Four. Under head coach Kevin Schlagel, the Huskies are 5-6 in regional play since the 1999-00 season.  

All-Time Series vs the Huskies:
The Huskies and Beavers have been meeting since the first season of basketball at Bemidji State 90 seasons ago (1921-22). Since then the teams have played 133 times with SCSU holding the all-time advantage 91-42. The Beavers have lost the last five meetings, including an overtime loss last season and a 72-70 heartbreaker in Bemidji this season, as Jensen drove the lane and found a bucket with under two seconds remaining. BSU held a one point advantage at the half and overcame an eight point deficit at 51-43 to take a 61-60 lead with 3:54 remaining before falling by two.