The final two minutes of Saturday night’s Bemidji State University men’s basketball game against Southwest Minnesota State University decided the program’s fate in a 78-72 loss in Marshall, Minn. With a split on the weekend, the Beavers fall to 7-10 overall and 4-7 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference while the Mustangs improve to 13-5 overall and 9-3 in the league.
The Mustangs made their first two field goals and sank two free throws to take an early 7-2 lead, but the Beavers fought back to tie the game at 14 apiece and again at 19 apiece. Senior guard Sharif Black’s only 3-pointer of the game gave BSU its only lead of the game, 22-21, midway through the first half. SMSU went on to score the next six points of the game and ended the first half on an 8-0 run. Though the Beavers trailed by just two with 4:37 in the half, the Mustangs’ run gave the home squad a 38-28 lead at the break.
Four different Beavers began BSU’s second half scoring although SMSU was able to extend its halftime lead to 12 points four minutes into the final period. Bemidji State continued to battle uphill over the next 10 minutes of play until senior guard Christian Pekarek sank a 3-pointer to tie the game at 68-68. SMSU converted the ensuing basket which was also matched by sophomore forward Logan Bader to tie the game again at 70-70. BSU only took two field goal attempts over the final 2:20 of gameplay and missed both as SMSU ended the game on an 8-2 run.
Sophomore guard Jai’Vionne Green led the Beavers in scoring with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field. Black followed with 15 points and added five rebounds and five assists, while Bader was one rebound shy of his second consecutive double-double with 14 points and nine boards. Pekarek also finished in double-digit scoring with 13 points and led BSU with seven assists.
Bemidji State shot 49.1 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from beyond the arc, compared to 46.2 percent from the floor and 27.6 percent from long range for Southwest Minnesota State. BSU gave up 13 turnovers which led to 16 points off turnovers for SMSU.
Bemidji State returns home next weekend to open the season series against Minot State University and University of Mary. The Beavers of BSU tip-off the Beavers of MiSU to start the weekend of games at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 19 before the team’s final home game of the month at 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20 against the Marauders.