Beaver Fever Friday – Wyatt Olson – Mens Basketball

Men’s Basketball opens New Year with Highway 2 rivalry versus UMC

Bemidji State University men’s basketball begins the 2022 calendar year Sunday, Jan. 2 with a 2 p.m. tip-off against the University of Minnesota Crookston at BSU Gymnasium. The Beavers and Golden Eagles meet for the second time to wrap up the season series on Youth Day as all kids grades K-12 enter free.

Bemidji State leads the all-time series against Minnesota Crookston, 52-20. UMC won the first game of the 2021-22 season series, 67-57, on Nov. 23 in Crookston, Minn. The win snapped a two-game winning streak by BSU. BSU shot a season-low 33.8 percent from the field and saw its final lead with seven minutes to play in the first half. Sophomore forward John Sutherland led all Beavers with 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting and was one rebound shy of a double-double. Senior guard Gare Ewefada came off the bench to score 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting.

Bemidji State and Minnesota Crookston first met Jan. 13, 1922, a 21-15 win by UMC.

BSU is looking to even the season series against UMC after opening the Northern Sun Intercollegiate schedule with a road loss to the Golden Eagles. The Beavers are also searching for their first conference win at home this season.

Bemidji State most recently split a road weekend at the University of Mary on Dec. 17, 2021 and at Minot State University on Dec. 18, 2021. BSU opened its weekend with a 68-40 win over UMary before closing with an 80-78 loss.

The Beavers jumped out to a 14-2 lead over the Marauders seven minutes into play, including 10 points from senior guard Travis Bianco. BSU opened the game shooting 6-of-8 from the field compared to 1-of-11 shooting by UMary, including 0-of-7 from 3-point range. BSU went into halftime with a 34-15 lead before outscoring UMary by nine points in the second half.

Bemidji State shot 50.9 percent from the field (29-57) for the second time this conference season, 26.7 percent from 3-point range (4-15) and 85.7 percent from the free throw line (6-7). The Beavers’ defense limited the Marauders to 23.2 percent from the floor (13-56) and 22.7 percent from 3-point range (5-22). BSU also won the rebound battle, 41-33, and scored 19 points off 14 Marauder turnovers.

Senior forward Derek Thompson led BSU in scoring for the second time this season with 14 points and added his first double-double of the season with 12 rebounds. He reached 600 career rebounds early in the game, becoming just the sixth Beaver in program history with 1,000 points and 600 rebounds.

Bemidji State and Minot State closed the weekend with a one-possession game as MiSU outscored BSU by one point in each half. MiSU extended its lead to double digits with less than six minutes to play before a BSU comeback to tie the game, 78-78, with 15 seconds to play. Minot State hit the game-winner with four seconds to play, handing Bemidji State its first loss when shooting over 50 percent.

BSU hit 52.5 percent from the floor (31-59), 38.1 percent from beyond the arc (8-21) and 80.0 percent from the free throw line (8-10). MiSU shot 50.0 percent from the floor (30-60) and won the rebound margin, 33-29.

Bianco led BSU with 21 points, his third 20-point game of the season, on 9-of-16 shooting. Sophomore forward John Sutherland was the only other BSU player in double figures scoring with 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Freshman guard Jayce Lowman came off the bench to score nine points behind three 3-pointers.