The scoring duo of senior guard Christian Pekarek and freshman forward Derek Thompson combined for 31 points for Bemidji State University men’s basketball Saturday night during a 62-57 loss to University of Minnesota Duluth. Neither the Beavers (6-9, 3-7 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) nor the Bulldogs (6-8, 3-6 NSIC) led by more than five points during the entire game.
Bemidji State fell into a quick 7-2 deficit two minutes into play, but was able to answer back to tie the game at 7-7 following sophomore forward Logan Bader’s only 3-pointer of the night. Bader then scored the Beavers’ first go-ahead basket with 11:07 in the opening half. The final minutes of the first half were separated by one possession, ending with a 3-pointer by Pekarek to give BSU a 30-29 lead at the half.
The second half took nearly four minutes before either team created a two-possession separation, as UMD’s Brandon Myer put in jumpers as part of a 6-0 run to give the Bulldogs a 37-32 lead. Freshman Zach Baumgartner sparked a 13-5 Bemidji State run five minutes later that was culminated by a layup from Thompson to give BSU a game-high 55-50 lead.
Minnesota Duluth began a run after Thompson’s layup that would push them to shoot 3-for-5 from the floor and 4-for-4 from the free throw line. BSU was unable to convert a shot over the final three minutes as UMD closed the game on a 9-0 run.
Pekarek led all Beavers with 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field and added three 3-pointers. He also pulled down six rebounds and totaled four assists. Thompson ended his night with 15 points on 5-for-9 shooting from the floor. In 10 minutes of game time, Baumgartner led BSU with nine rebounds, including two offensive boards.
Bemidji State finished the game shooting 37.5 percent (21-56) from the field, 37.5 percent (6-16) from beyond the arc and 81.8 percent (9-11) from the free throw line. Minnesota Duluth shot 41.4 percent (24-58) from the floor, 26.1 percent (6-23) from long range and 61.5 percent (8-13) from the charity stripe.
Bemidji State continues a four-game road trip next weekend while heading south to face University of Sioux Falls Friday and Southwest Minnesota State University Saturday.