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Senior duo help Beavers pull out 67-59 win to secure NSIC North fourth seed

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The Bemidji State University men’s basketball senior duo of Sharif Black and Christian Pekarek combined for 36 points Friday night to help the team pull out a 67-59 win against University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D. Sophomore forward Logan Bader chipped in his third double-double of the season to help the Beavers (12-14, 9-12 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) secure the NSIC North Division four seed while splitting the season series against the Marauders (5-20, 3-18 NSIC).

Bemidji State overcame early adversity after trailing to U-Mary, 12-3, five minutes into action. The Beavers started the game shooting 1-for-7 from the field with three turnovers during the first stretch of the game. The Marauders held on to the nine-point lead until 6:28 remaining in the first half, when the Beavers began a run to end the period.

Black helped lead BSU to an 11-1 run to end the half, scoring five of BSU’s final 11, while Pekarek sank a 3-pointer in the final seconds to give BSU its first lead of the game, 29-28, to head into halftime. The Beavers’ defense held the Marauders to 0-for-5 shooting from the field and forced three turnovers.

Behind the 3-point shooting of Pekarek and freshman forward Derek Thompson, the Beavers were able to continue its run from the end of the first half to take a game-high, nine-point lead nearly 10 minutes into the second. Pekarek sank two 3-pointers in a stretch of three field goals from BSU to gain the advantage, but U-Mary followed with a 13-0 run to regain the lead, 51-47. Pekarek stopped the run with another 3-pointer, followed by a 3-pointer from Bader and a jumper from sophomore guard Jai’Vionne Green to put BSU up, 55-51.

Both teams traded the lead over the following two possessions, the second giving BSU its final lead of the night. The Beavers held the Marauders scoreless over the majority of the final five minutes, only giving up a 3-pointer to U-Mary with eight seconds remaining in the game. Bemidji State sealed the game from the free throw line, going 6-for-8 after being sent to the line.

Black finished the game as BSU’s leading scorer with 19 points, shooting 6-of-14 from the field, and added seven rebounds and five assists. Bader recorded his third double-double of the season with 13 points and a team-high 11 rebounds, while Pekarek ended the game with 17 points.

Bemidji State shot 42.9 percent from the field, 35.0 percent from beyond the arc and 63.2 percent from the charity stripe. The Beavers won the rebound margin, 40-31, and saw the starting five combined for 64 of the team’s 67 points on the night. U-Mary was held to just four free throw attempts on the night and converted two.

Bemidji State finishes the 2017-18 regular season Saturday night with a 6 p.m. tip-off against Minot State University in Minot, N.D. The Beavers have locked in the number four seed in the NSIC North Division and will await its final fate for the NSIC Tournament following the conclusion of Saturday’s conference games.

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