A barrage of 3-point shots helped lead the Bemidji State University men’s basketball team over Winona State University Sunday afternoon, 62-59, to finish the 2017 calendar year. The Beavers (5-7, 2-5 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) sank nine 3-pointers in the first half, led by senior guard Christian Pekarek with four total 3-pointers, to beat the Warriors (8-5, 3-4 NSIC) in their lone matchup of the season.
Freshman forward Derek Thompson had a hand in each of BSU’s first two baskets, putting in a layup and assisting on a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Jai’Vionne Green, to help take a quick 5-2 lead. After the Warriors tied the game on a 3-pointer 40 seconds later, senior guard Sharif Black made his first 3-pointer of the day to put the Beavers up for the remainder of the first half. Bemidji State continued to find pay dirt from beyond the arc while sinking nine total 3-pointers in the first period.
Sophomore forward Logan Bader made his first 3-pointer of the game with 4:44 in the half to give BSU its largest lead of the half, 35-26. The Warriors followed on a 7-0 run to draw the Beavers’ lead to just two points before senior guard Christian Pekarek made his final 3-pointer of the first half to stop the streak. Thompson put in his second basket of the game to finish scoring on the half for BSU and to give the team a 40-36 lead into halftime.
Thompson helped hold on to BSU’s four-point lead early in the second half before WSU took its first lead since the opening basket of the game. The Warriors were able to extend the lead to four points midway through the second half for their largest lead of the night. Pekarek hit back-to-back 3-pointers for BSU to tie the game at 50-50 while both teams swapped the lead five times over the final eight minutes of play.
Winona State took its final lead of the night, 59-58, with under one minute to play as it hit a 3-pointer. The Beavers scored the final four points of the game behind a layup by Thompson and two free throws by Black with six seconds to go. Thompson was able to block a Warriors shot with 11 seconds to go which was followed by a WSU turnover off an offensive rebound to give the ball to BSU. The Beavers forced a missed 3-point attempt by the Warriors in the final seconds of the game.
Black led all BSU scorers with 15 points and three 3-pointers, while adding six assists and five rebounds. Pekarek scored all 12 of his points from beyond the arc and Thompson totaled 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting from the field with five rebounds. Bader led the charge on the boards for BSU with a team-high eight rebounds.
Bemidji State shot 46 percent from the field and 39 percent from beyond the arc, created by 15 assists. Winona State shot 34 percent from the field and 27 percent from long range while going 59 percent (10-of-17) from the free throw line.
Bemidji State will prepare to travel for the first leg of a four-game road trip next weekend while facing St. Cloud State University and University of Minnesota Duluth in the final games of the season-series versus each program. The Beavers and Huskies open the weekend at 8 p.m. Jan. 5 in St. Cloud, Minn., while the Beavers aim for a season sweep of the Bulldogs at 6 p.m. Jan. 6 in Duluth, Minn.