Alex Berg | Sports Editor | 2-13-2012
“Crookston started the game shooting 80 percent,” Bemidji State head coach Matt Bowen said. “I think we came out back on our heels a bit. I credit Bryce Tesdahl and Dermaine Crockrell for picking up the defensive pressure on their ball-handlers.” Both teams fell into a scoring drought in the first half, but the Beavers busted out of their five minute slump to go on an 11-0 run.
“It was a very poor start on our end,” Bowen said. “Once we applied pressure we were able to get back into our style of play and that got our offense going.” The Golden Eagles went over eight minutes without a basket. BSU’s offense finished the half hot and grabbed a 38-29 lead going into halftime.
A trio of three-pointers from seniors Bryce Tesdahl, James Ellisor, and junior Mason Walters busted the game open, giving the Beavers a 53-32 lead. Crookston’s offense recovered from a second drought of over six minutes to score 57 points on the night but were never able to put a dent in the BSU lead.
The Beavers won 76-57.
Junior guard Lance Rongstad scored 21 points on 8-9 shooting for the Beavers.
Ellisor led all scorers with 25 points. Tesdahl matched his career-high with 12 assists. He added 11 points to notch a double-double. The Beavers, as a team, picked up 22 assists on 30 made field goals.
“That is how our offense works best,” Rongstad said. “When we are moving the ball well and everyone is getting touches it puts a lot of pressure on the defense.”
On Saturday, the MSU-Moorhead Dragons used an 11-0 run to grab an early 19-10 lead over the Beavers. Moorhead built a lead as large as 13 points at 42-29 in the first half.
Moorhead led 43-35 at the half. Down 14 in the second half, the Beavers went on the move by scoring 14 consecutive points to tie the game at 57 with 7:22 left to play.
A three-pointer from sophomore Zach Noreen gave BSU its first lead since the opening minutes at 60-59 with 4:28 remaining. Noreen provided a spark off of the bench with 15 points and five rebounds.
Rongstad went to the free throw line with 21 seconds left and the Beavers up by two. Rongstad made the first free throw but missed the second. The Dragons capitalized with a three-pointer from Charlie Chapman to force overtime. Chapman scored 17 points on the night.
BSU scored four straight points on free throws from junior guard Dermaine Crockrell and a layup from Rongstad to tie the score at 74 with just over a minute left.
Crockrell finished with 20 points and six boards. The Dragons finished the game on a 10-3 run thanks to 7-8 free throw shooting in the final minute to beat the Beavers 84-77.
DJ Hamilton of Moorhead led all scorers with 34 points. Ellisor led BSU with 24 points and nine rebounds.
Even with the loss, the Beavers are still 10-2 when playing at home this season.
“The crowds make the biggest difference,” Rongstad said. “We have had bigger crowds here this season than any other year since I have been here. We want to play well here to keep them coming back.”
Both home losses were tough to handle with this overtime loss and a last second loss to St. Cloud State in January.
Bemidji State (17-7; 12-6 NSIC) will travel down to the southern part of Minnesota to take on Southwest Minnesota State in Marshall and Minnesota State in Mankato this weekend.