Men’s Hoops falters in final stretch of 65-50 loss to Golden Eagles

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The Bemidji State University men’s basketball program saw a second half lead disappear Saturday afternoon in a 65-50 loss to University of Minnesota Crookston at BSU Gymnasium. Freshman forward Derek Thompson missed his first career double-double for the Beavers (5-6, 2-4 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) by one rebound while leading the team with 13 points.

Senior guard Sharif Black tied the game early at three points apiece with a 3-pointer from fellow senior guard Christian Pekarek. The Golden Eagles soon went on a 9-1 run, though, to create a nine-point, 15-6, gap just under six minutes into the game. Sophomore forward Logan Bader stopped UMC’s run with back-to-back baskets, a floater in the lane and a turnaround bank shot in the paint, for his first four points of the day.

Bemidji State’s zone defense began to put pressure on Minnesota Crookston’s shooting midway through the opening period, as BSU was able to go on a 13-0 run over an eight-minute span. The Beavers held the Golden Eagles to 0-for-10 shooting from the field during the run to take a 25-17 lead. Sophomore guard Jai’Vionne Green converted three of his eight first-half points to put BSU up by its largest margin in the first half, 30-21. UMC nearly ended the half on an 8-2 run, but sophomore guard Jacob McNallan laid in a bucket at the halftime buzzer to give BSU a 34-29 lead at the intermission.

An offensive rebound allowed the Beavers to jump to a quick 4-0 run out of the half to go up, 38-29. Despite going 0-for-5 from the field after that point, BSU was able to hold on to its four-point lead and converted an and-one opportunity to go back up by seven, 41-34. The Golden Eagles pulled the margin to within four midway through the final half and cut the Beavers’ lead to one, 43-42, on a 3-pointer by UMC guard Harrison Cleary from the right corner.

Bader sank a basket in the paint followed by another 3-pointer to tie the game at 45-45. During a 12-0 run by Minnesota Crookston over a span of four minutes, UMC was able to take their final lead of the game. The UMC lead was the team’s first since 10:41 in the first half. The Golden Eagles finished the game on a 20-3 run over the final nine minutes of gameplay.

Bemidji State finished the game shooting 35.1 percent from the field and 27.8 percent from beyond the arc, compared to 31.1 percent from the field and 43.5 percent from long range for Minnesota Crookston. The Beavers took control of the paint with 26 points in the lane compared to 12 for the Golden Eagles, but UMC outshot BSU from the charity stripe 89.5 percent (17-19) to 71.4 percent (5-7).

Freshman forward Derek Thompson led the Beavers with 13 points and was one rebound shy of his first career double-double. Pekarek followed with 10 points, the only other Beaver in double-digit scoring.

Bemidji State takes its holiday break before returning to action at home against Upper Iowa University and Winona State University. The Beavers open the weekend back at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 30 against the Peacocks followed by another 3:30 p.m. tip-off Dec. 31 against the Warriors, both at BSU Gymnasium.

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