It was nearly 96 years to the day that the Bemidji State University men’s basketball program grabbed program win number 1,000 in a 72-68 victory at University of Sioux Falls Friday night in Sioux Falls, S.D. Senior guard Sharif Black, with a team-high 18 points, and sophomore forward Logan Bader, with his second career double-double, helped the Beavers (7-9, 4-7 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) reach the program milestone with a quick start to being the weekend.
Bemidji State kicked off a game of runs early while opening Friday’s game on a 13-0 run. During the Beavers’ five-minute run, the Cougars were held 0-for-8 shooting from the field while BSU also outrebounded USF, 7-4. Senior guard Sharif Black and sophomore forward Logan Bader combined for 11 of BSU’s first 13 points.
USF snapped its scoreless streak with an 8-0 run followed by another 8-0 by BSU. Bader gave BSU its largest lead of the half, 24-11, on his third 3-pointer of the night. At the 10-minute mark, the Beavers shot 62 percent from the field to take its game-high lead. USF caught a spark again after trailing 24-11 while going on another 8-0 run over the next seven minutes. Sophomore guard Jai’Vionne Green scored six of BSU’s final eight points of the half to help the team to a 32-27 lead at halftime.
The Beavers were not able to pull away early in the second half, as the Cougars kept it close before eventually taking their first lead of the game at 41-40 with 11:37 to play. BSU was quickly put back on top for good on the ensuing three baskets when senior guard Christian Pekarek capped a 6-0 run with his only 3-pointer of the night.
Bemidji State finished the second half shooting 41.4 percent from the field, which allowed it to hold at least a three-point lead over the final eight minutes of play. The Beavers finished the final 1:18 of play going 8-of-14 from the free throw line and limiting the Cougars to 2-of-6 shooting from the field.
BSU finished the game shooting 41.1 percent overall from the field, 30.0 percent from beyond the arc and 68.8 percent from the free throw line. The Beavers won the rebound battle, 42-38, and also outscored the Cougars in the paint, 32-26. Friday night’s win is Bemidji State’s first against Sioux Falls since the 2012-13 season and third all-time.
Black led the team with 18 points, including 8-of-11 shooting from the free throw line, and dished out five assists. Bader recorded his first double-double of the season and second of his career, which was also the first double-double by a Beaver this season, with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Pekarek and freshman forward Derek Thompson also reached double-digit scoring, tallying 13 points each in the win.
Bemidji State continues its weekend with a trip to Marshall, Minn., to face Southwest Minnesota State University Saturday. The Beavers and Mustangs tip-off at 6 p.m. from R/A Facility.