Senior guard Sharif Black scored at least 20 points for the second time in the Bemidji State University men’s basketball team’s last three games, but it wasn’t enough Friday night as St. Cloud State University rallied back to hand BSU a 77-72 loss at Halenbeck Hall. Black finished with a team-high 21 points for the Beavers (6-8, 3-6 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference), and added seven rebounds and seven assists to end with a season sweep to the Huskies (10-4, 6-2 NSIC).
Both teams stayed within one scoring possession of each other throughout the first eight minutes of action, until sophomore guard Jai’Vionne Green converted an and-one conversion to put the Beavers up, 16-11. Following a 3-pointer from the Huskies, the Beavers went on an 11-3 run over the next three minutes, including four points from Green, and was capped on a 3-pointer from sophomore forward Logan Bader on an assist from freshman guard Mike Shepski. The 10-point, 27-17 lead was eventually pushed out to 13 points.
Bemidji State’s 39-36 lead began to slip with 3:06 remaining in the first half as St. Cloud State began an unanswered run to finish the half. The Huskies went on a run of 14-0 over the final few minutes to take a 40-39 advantage at halftime. Bemidji State ended the final three minutes of the half shooting 0-for-6 shooting from the field while also grabbing only one rebound during that span.
The Huskies went on runs to open and close the second half that created the difference in the final period. Bemidji State was able to tie the game at 42-42 on a 3-pointer from Bader, but it was the only points scored during an 11-3 stretch by St. Cloud State. The Beavers were able to cut down the Huskies’ game-high nine-point, 51-42 lead after five minutes in the half. Green put in two free throws to make it a single-possession game again while senior guard Christian Pekarek followed with back-to-back 3-pointers to regain the lead for BSU. Green and senior guard Sharif Black followed Pekarek with back-to-back baskets for BSU to cap a 15-0 run and take a 64-55 lead.
The game was brought back to one possession with just under seven minutes in the game before BSU held its last lead, 72-68, on its final successful point of the night. Green put in the final two points for BSU, but SCSU was able to hold BSU to 0-for-5 from the field over the last 3:39 of play. The Huskies ended the game on a 9-0 run to pull away with the win and sweep the Beavers in the season series.
Each starter played at least 35 minutes and the team was led in scoring by Black with 21 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Black finished the game with at least 20 points for the second time in the last three games. Green followed Black with 19 points and six rebounds, while freshman forward Derek Thompson led the team on the glass with eight boards.
Bemidji State ended the game shooting 45.6 percent from the field, 36.4 percent from beyond the arc and 66.7 percent from the free throw line. After opening the first half shooting 51.6 percent, BSU shot 38.5 percent in the second. Both teams scored the same amount of points off turnovers, second-chance points and fast break points, with the largest margin coming in the paint. The Huskies put in 36 points in the paint compared to 26 for the Beavers.
Bemidji State closes out its weekend with the season-series finale Saturday at University of Minnesota Duluth. The Beavers attempt to sweep the Bulldogs on the season at 4 p.m. from Romano Gymnasium in Duluth, Minn.