Bemidji State to face Winona State, No. 19 Upper Iowa in weekend battle
Bemidji State University returns to normal interdivisional play in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference for the first time since the 2019-20 season as Winona State University and Upper Iowa University enter BSU Gymnasium Jan. 7-8. The Beavers and Warriors open the weekend at 5:30 p.m. Friday before a 3:30 p.m. tip-off against the Peacocks on Saturday.
All youth up to 18 years old are free of cost for both nights.
Winona State leads the all-time series against Bemidji State, 88-72. The Beavers and Warriors last met Jan. 18, 2020, an 82-74 win by WSU in Winona, Minn. WSU has won two straight games in the series. Bemidji State holds a 47-34 lead in the series when playing in Bemidji. Bemidji State and Winona State first met Jan. 7, 1933, a 43-34 overtime win by the Beavers.
Bemidji State leads the all-time series against Upper Iowa, 13-9. The Beavers and Peacocks last met Jan. 17, 2020, a 105-93 double overtime win by UIU in Fayette, Iowa. Both teams have traded wins over the last two meetings while Upper Iowa has won three of the last four in the series. BSU leads the series when played in Bemidji, 7-2. Bemidji State and Upper Iowa first met Dec. 16, 1949, a 97-69 win by the Beavers in Fayette.
During its return to play following the Christmas break, Bemidji State took down the University of Minnesota Crookston, 70-46, to earn a season split. The Beavers’ defense was stout over the first 20 minutes, limiting the Golden Eagles to just four field goals in the first half. After facing a 7-6 deficit early, sophomore forward Dalton Albrecht scored 11 of BSU’s next 15 points for a 21-11 lead with 4:29 to play before halftime. BSU held UMC to 31.4 percent shooting in the second half in addition to scoring 40 points over the final 20 minutes.
Bemidji State shot 46.6 percent from the field (27-58), 25.9 percent from 3-point range (7-27) and sank all nine of its free throw attempts. The Beavers won the rebound battle, 43-36, and outscored the Golden Eagles in the paint, 38-20. UMC was limited to 26.3 percent shooting from the field (15-57), 16.0 percent from 3-point range (4-25) and 48.0 percent from the free throw line (12-25).
Albrecht led the Beavers with a career-high 21 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, marking his first career double-double. He shot 89 percent from the floor (8-9) with one 3-pointer and 4-of-4 free throw attempts and added two steals and one assist. Senior forward Derek Thompson followed with 16 points on 7-of-16 shooting along with seven rebounds. Senior guard Travis Bianco tallied 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting with two 3-pointers and six rebounds.
Bemidji State’s defense has been one of the best in the NSIC this season, as it ranks third in scoring defense (67.7), field goal defense (42.3 percent) and 3-point defense (31.2 percent). The Beavers also rank among the top five in 3-point field goal percentage (3rd/37.9 percent), field goal percentage (5th/9.1 percent) and assists (5th/15.0 apg).
Thompson continued to climb the scoring and rebounding charts at Bemidji State during the team’s win over Minnesota Crookston. He moved into a tie for fourth all-time at BSU with 1,410 points and moved into fifth with 618 rebounds.