|February 22, 2013||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||UMD||BSUM|
|FG Percentage||.397 (25-63)||.424 (25-59)|
|3P FG Percentage||.261 (6-23)||.370 (10-27)|
|FT Percentage||.800 (8-10)||.905 (19-21)|
Jake Hottenstine - 2
Dylan Rodriguez - 1
BEMIDJI, Minn. (BSU Gymnasium) – Senior forward Mason Walters (Milton, Wis.) recorded 22 points and tied a career-high with 13 rebounds to propel the Bemidji State University men's basketball team to a 79-64 victory against visiting University of Minnesota Duluth Friday in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference contest. The win secures a first round NSIC/Sanford Health Men's Basketball Tournament home game for BSU, to be played Feb. 27 at 7 p.m.
The Beavers (14-11; 12-9 NSIC, 8-5 NSIC North) are still in sole possession of third place in the NSIC North. A BSU win or a MSU Moorhead loss Saturday would secure that No. 3 seed in the postseason tournament and would pit BSU against Wayne State College, the sixth seed out of the NSIC South. If the Beavers were to finish fourth, it could be hosting one of three different NSIC South teams that would finish as the No. 5 seed.
With his second 20-point effort in the last four games, Walters has pushed his career points total to 988, 12 points shy of becoming the 17th player in BSU program history to reach the plateau. His ninth, 10-plus rebounding game has moved his career rebounding total to 453, just two shy of tying Jim Allen (1973-76) for 10th all-time on Bemidji State’s rebounding chart. This season the senior has totaled eight double-doubles, but tonight’s effort was his first-career 20-point, 10-rebound game.
Aiding Walters' effort was senior guard Dermaine Crockrell (Mesa, Ariz.), who posted 19 points, a career-high eight assists and five rebounds. Senior Lance Rongstad (G/F, Eleva, Wis.) recorded 21 points and eight rebounds with three assists. Rongstad now has 1,161 career points to move into 12th all-time at BSU, surpassing Dale Harper (1983-87). He has 447 career rebounds to also have a shot at cracking the top 10 list at Bemidji State.
BSU hit 10 3-pointers - five from Rongstad on 5-of-10 shooting - on 27 attempts for a 37.0 percentage from beyond the arc. BSU outrebounded UMD 44-28, which included 13 offensive rebounds that parlayed into 12 second chance points. BSU shot 19-for-21 (90.5%) from the free throw line, guided by Walters' 9-for-9 performance. With both Walters and Rongstad scoring 20-plus points, it marked the first time this season two players scored 20 or more points in the same game.
The first half was a battle, as neither team cleared a five-point lead for the first 10 minutes. Four straight points from Walters mid-way through the opening half handed the Beavers their largest lead at 19-13. UMD cut the deficit to two at 19-17, but a 7-2 BSU run, capped by a Crockrell 3-pointer gave the home team a 26-19 lead with 6:41 remaining.
The Bulldogs clawed back to a two-point shortcoming on two occasions during the next four minutes of play, but five unanswered points by Walters in the final two minutes landed the Beavers a 36-29 lead heading into the locker room.
A Rongstad 3-pointer on BSU’s first possession of the second half moved the lead to double-figures for the first time at 39-29, but the Bulldogs didn’t back down and faced just a three-point deficit at 46-43 with 16:03 remaining. The Beaver lead sat at just one at 48-47 with 13:20 showing on the game clock, but a Crockrell 3-pointer jumpstarted a 10-1 run that ate two minutes of game time and lifted BSU’s lead back to 10 at 58-48.
A free throw from UMD with 11 minutes left stopped the run, but the Beavers just started up a new one and pushed its lead to 15 at 64-49 with 8:12 remaining. The Bulldogs converted on just four free throws and failed to record a field goal for nearly nine minutes during the second half. A layup from Brett Ervin with 6:04 remaining broke the drought, but that just got the road team within 14 at 67-43.
The defense stand and continued offensive onslaught guided the Beavers to a 15 point advantage with 4:09 left, but the Bulldogs made it interesting and went on an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to 71-64 with 2:34 showing on the game clock. But that would be the last bucket scored by UMD, as the Beavers closed the door with an 8-0 run to conclude the game with the 15-point victory.
Bemidji State swept the season series with Minnesota Duluth, as it recorded a 66-55 win on the road earlier in the season. Friday’s victory also spoiled the return of former Beaver head coach Matt Bowen, as he is now the bench boss of UMD after spending the last six seasons as the head coach at BSU.
The regular season comes to an end Saturday when No. 22 St. Cloud State University visits BSU Gymnasium for a 6 p.m. tilt.
For more information on the Bemidji State men’s basketball program, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BSUHoops or @BSUBeavers), like them on Facebook (facebook.com/Bemidji-State-Basketball or facebook.com/BSUBeavers) or sign up for the TXTUpdates from BSUBeavers.com text-messaging system through the "Mulitmedia" pull down menu on the main page of BSUBeavers.com.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).