Men’s Basketball begins 2023-24 season in Kansas City at Central Region Challenge
Beavers will face Henderson State, Missouri Southern
The Bemidji State University Men’s Basketball team opens the new season down in Kansas City against Henderson State on Friday at 11 a.m. and Missouri Southern on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. in the Central Region Challenge.
The regional event will have 11 teams competing, with six representing the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
The 20 wins during the 2022-23 season was just the third time in program history in which the Beavers reached that win milestone. Bemidji State added to that by reaching the NSIC semifinals for the first time since 2012-13.
The Beavers return a majority of the team from last season including All-NSIC forward John Sutherland. Sutherland averaged 19.7 points and 8.6 rebounds to lead the team in both categories. He shot 59 percent from the field and added nine double-doubles (points-rebounds). Dalton Albrecht returns after averaging 14 points and 4.8 rebounds. He shot over 53 percent from the field and reached double-figures in scoring in 21 games. Johnny Tennyson emerged as a key contributor down the stretch and finished the season averaging 7.7 points and shot over 50 percent from the field. His impact was felt in the NSIC Tournament when he started the final two games against Wayne State and MSU Moorhead, tallying 23 points in the win over the Wildcats and 17 more in the tight battle with the Dragons. Brayden Williams started every game but the last a season ago, missing the game against MSU Moorhead due to injury. The sophomore guard averaged 7.1 points and added 81 assists, while shooting almost 43 percent from the field.
Other returners back for the Beavers include sophomore Daniel Ijadimbola, sophomore Tate Olson, and junior Colton Roderick. The 2023-24 team will have several new players both from transfers and freshmen. BJ Davis will be an incoming junior from Utah State Eastern. Daxton Dayley will also be an incoming junior from Northeastern Junior College. Colin Schaefer will be an incoming junior transfer from Odessa Junior College. Six will be incoming freshmen in Eli Laposky, John Pecarich, Isaac Severts, Jobe Juenemann, Ryan Bohlman, Ty Miller and Austin Josephson.
The Beavers will play six non-conference games before hosting Minot State on Dec. 1 for the first NSIC game of the season. In between, BSU will host Northland (Nov. 14) and Oak Hills Christian (Nov. 16), before traveling to Florida during Thanksgiving week to face Tampa (Nov. 24) and Eckerd (Nov. 25).
Bemidji State will open with Henderson State out of Arkansas in the Great American Conference. Last year, the Reddies went 15-15 advancing to the second round of the GAC conference tournament. Top scorer from last season in Franck Kamgain who averaged 13.7 points per game graduated. In fact, the top three scorers from last season are all gone. Tomislav Miholjcic is the top returning scorer averaging 10.6 points per game and 6.7 rebounds per game.
This will be the first meeting between the teams.
To close the tournament, the Beavers will face Missouri Southern on Saturday. The Lions out of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, went 17-13 last year and reached the second round of the MIAA conference tournament. The top three returning scorers are back for Missouri Southern this season. Vinson Sigmon Jr., Avery Taggart and Winson Dessesow have combined to average 36 points per game, led by Sigmon Jr.’s 12.3 points per game.
This will be the third meeting between the teams and first since the 2005-06 season. That game took place on Missouri Southern’s home floor in Joplin with the Lions claiming the 74-60 victory. The first meeting was in 2003-04 in Pittsburg, Kan., with the Beavers rolling to the 97-80 victory.