Men’s Hoops Jumps to 10-0 Lead, Cruises To WIn

Big holiday meals didn’t slow down the Bemidji State University men’s basketball team as it jumped out to a 10-0 lead to start its first game back in two weeks. The Beavers never looked back, bringing a high level of intensity and energy to the Romano Gymnasium Monday night to defeat University of Minnesota Duluth 101-76.

Six Beavers scored in double-figures, led by sophomore Mason Walters’ (F, Milton, Wis.) career-highs 19 points and 11 rebounds. BSU shot a season-high 66 percent from the field. The Beavers scored more than 100 points for the first time since the three overtime thriller against Minnesota Duluth Feb. 25, 2009, losing that contest 126-124. BSU has now won three straight against the Bulldogs.

The Beavers came out with high intensity and energy, jumping on the Bulldogs 10-0 just 2:21 into the contest and getting five points from senior forward Patrick Cassidy (St. Paul, Minn.). UMD got back into the game with its deep threat, entering the game as the second best 3-point shooting team in the league at a 39.4 percent clip, cutting the deficit to three at 11-8 just a couple minutes latter.

With the score showing 20-17, the Beavers rattled off 10 straight points to take a commanding 30-17 advantage and forcing the Bulldogs to take a timeout. Sophomore Burke Lendl (G/F, St. Michael, Minn.) played a large role in the run, making a massive block on the defensive end and then hitting two consecutive cold-blooded 3-pointers to force the timeout.

UMD scored on its in-bounds play after the break, but the Beavers kept applying pressure, stretching the lead to 15 at 37-22 with just over seven minutes showing on the clock. The lead went to 17 when an outlet pass from sophomore Lance Rongstad (F, Eleva, Wis.) found junior Jake Lindstrom (G, Cottage Grove, Minn.) just past half court and he converted an up-and-under lay-up, forcing yet another Bulldog timeout with 5:47 remaining in the first half.  

The reset worked for the home team, going on a 19-10 run to close the half and cut the BSU lead to eight at 51-43.

The Beavers started the half strong and the Bulldogs were cold, resulting in extending the lead back into double-digits. Every time UMD converted on a bucket BSU would respond to keep the lead. At the 10 minute mark the Beavers owned a 76-59 lead.

After a UMD timeout with 10 to go, the Beavers went on a 4-0 run, capped by a junior James Ellisor (F, Glendale, Ariz.) dunk to force another timeout by the Bulldog bench. BSU never let the lead slip past 18 for the rest of the game.

Cassidy had a team-high 22 points, shooting 9-of-10 from the field and a perfect 4-of-4 from the charity stripe. Junior guard Bryce Tesdahl (Crosby, Minn.) scored 15 points, adding a team-high five assists. Ellisor has 12 and Rongstad totalled 11 points with a career-high 13 rebounds for his second-career double-double. Lendl had 10 points with four rebounds. Walters shot and made a carer-high in free throws going 11-for-16.

BSU outrebounded UMD 45-28 in the game, its largest rebounding margin this season. The Beavers were 75.7 percent from the line, shooting 28-of-37.  

The Beavers host Augustana College Jan. 8 and Wayne State College Jan. 9. Both contests begin at 4 p.m. The two games were moved from Jan. 7-8 to 8-9 due to weather last weekend.  

Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).