All five Bemidji State University men’s basketball starters contributed in a hot shooting night to overcome (RV) Minot State University, 80-73, Friday night at BSU Gymnasium. Senior guard Sharif Black set a season-high 24 points with five assists while sophomore forward Logan Bader tied a season-high 18 points as the Beavers improve to 8-10 overall and 5-8 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
Bemidji State took an early lead two minutes into action before Minot State took its only lead of the game, 6-4, coming off a missed 3-pointer by Black. Freshman forward Derek Thompson, who finished the game with 13 points and 11 in the first half, put in a layup from Black to tie the game and was followed by sophomore guard Jai’Vionne Green’s first of two 3-pointers on the night. Thompson and Green’s baskets were the beginning of a 13-0 run by Bemidji State that spanned over four minutes.
BSU found answers to MiSU’s buckets throughout the first half and pulled ahead to its largest lead of the game, 27-14, as Bader sank a 3-pointer assisted by senior guard Christian Pekarek. An 8-2 run for Minot State allowed it to come within four points of Bemidji State under the five-minute mark, but Pekarek scored the final three points of the half to give BSU a 38-31 lead at the half.
The hot shooting half by BSU only improved in the second half, but MiSU was able to climb to within three points twice in the final period. The first three-point lead by Bemidji State came just over five minutes into the second period while the team was able to hold on to its two-possession lead until just over two minutes remaining in the game. A 9-4 run by Minot State gave Bemidji State a late scare, but the home squad finished the game on a 9-5 run, including going 4-for-4 from the free throw line in the final minute.
Following Black, Bader and Thompson in scoring was Green with 12 points and Pekarek with 10. Thompson and Pekarek each guided BSU on the boards with seven rebounds each, followed by freshman forward Zach Baumgartner with six.
Bemidji State shot a conference-season-best 56.1 percent from the field and 35.0 percent from beyond the arc, finishing better than Minot State with 49.2 percent shooting from the floor and 33.3 percent from long range. BSU also took advantage on the boards while outrebounding MiSU, 32-27. Bemidji State outshot Minot State from 3-point range, 7-for-20 to 6-for 18, and also won the battle in the paint, 44-34.
Friday’s win was the first for BSU over a team to receive votes in the National Association of Basketball Coaches Top 25 Poll since doing so last year in a 96-86 win over Southwest Minnesota State University.
Bemidji State closes out its weekend with the first half of the season series against University of Mary Saturday, Jan. 20. The Beavers and Marauders tip-off from BSU Gymnasium at 6 p.m.