Men’s Basketball travels to Minnesota State to open NSIC Tournament
Bemidji State University men’s basketball will face Minnesota State University, Mankato in the first round of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Tournament at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 26 in Mankato, Minn.
Minnesota State leads the all-time series against Bemidji State, 71-36. The Beavers and Mavericks have traded wins over the last three games of the series after MSU took an 87-60 victory Feb. 8, 2020 in Mankato, Minn.
Junior forward Derek Thompson led BSU with 15 points and eight rebounds while senior forward Logan Bader added 13 points. Senior guard Ja Morgan, in his second game back from injury, scored nine points with three assists and two rebounds in 30 minutes off the bench.
his will be the second straight meeting between Bemidji State and Minnesota State in the opening round of the NSIC Tournament after BSU, as an eight seed, took down number one seeded MSU at the beginning of the 2019 postseason, 66-56. The Beavers are 1-2 versus the Mavericks in postseason play under head coach Mike Boschee.
Bemidji State has now won four consecutive games and six of its last seven after taking a weekend sweep over St. Cloud State University, 86-65, and the University of Minnesota Duluth, 83-76. The Beavers clinched the No. 4 seed in the NSIC North Division after its win over the Huskies.
BSU’s 21-point victory over SCSU was the largest margin in a win against the Huskies since a 53-22 win on Feb. 23, 1945 in St. Cloud, Minn. The Beavers opened the game on a 17-2 run and went into halftime with a 47-24 lead behind 19 first-half points from Thompson. Bemidji State held St. Cloud State to 39.1 percent shooting from the field and gave away just six turnovers through 40 minutes, its second-lowest turnover total of the season.
Bemidji State overcame a 14-3 deficit after the first four minutes of play before going into halftime with a 32-29 lead. Morgan scored 20 second-half points to push BSU’s lead to 15 twice before UMD widdled that lead to just one point with one minute left in the game. The Beavers held off the Bulldogs with a layup and four straight free throws in addition to two missed field goals by UMD.
Thompson averaged a double-double over the weekend with 22.5 points and 11.0 rebounds per game while shooting 66.7 percent (16-24) from the field. Sophomore guard Max Bjorklund followed Thompson with 16.5 points per game, including 20 points against SCSU, while Morgan averaged 16.0 points and 7.0 assists per game.
Head coach Mike Boschee reached the 100-win milestone in the victory over UMD.
Bemidji State ranks 11th in the nation and leads the NSIC shooting 41.3 percent from beyond the arc and 31st in the country with the fewest turnovers. Over BSU’s last seven games, the team is averaging 78.0 points for and 69.4 points allowed per game with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.45.
Wagner ranks second in the NSIC and 43rd in the nation shooting 41.7 percent from beyond the arc. Thompson ranks sixth in the league shooting 52.4 percent from the floor. Bader ranks tied for ninth in the NSIC with 7.0 rebounds per game.
Minnesota State was swept during its final weekend of the regular season after losses of 89-81 to Upper Iowa University and 79-72 to Winona State University in Mankato, Minn. MSU leads the NSIC allowing 41.3 percent from the floor to opponents and ranks second pulling down 39.3 rebounds per game.
Senior forward Cameron Kirksey ranks eighth in the NSIC with 18.0 points per game. Sophomore center Kelby Kramer ranks fourth in the league with 9.4 rebounds per game.