Alex Berg | Sports Editor | 3-3-2012
ROCHESTER– Top-seeded Bemidji State lost to MSU-Moorhead 73-64 in the second round of the NSIC tournament Saturday at Taylor Arena in Rochester.
With the win, the Dragons are 3-0 against the Beavers this season.
“They are a difficult match-up for us,” Bemidji State head coach Matt Bowen said. “Their guards play very well against us. When they shoot like they did today, they are tough to beat.”
The Beavers (22-8) got off to a fast start and jumped ahead to an early 7-0 lead after a pair of baskets from sophomore Zach Noreen and one from senior James Ellisor.
Ellisor led all scorers with 20 points on 9-12 shooting.
“Ellisor is going get his points because he is so good,” MSU-Moorhead head coach Chad Walthall said. “We just wanted to make him work as hard as possible for them.”
The Dragons clawed their way back and cut the BSU lead to 19-16 after a three-pointer from DJ Hamilton with 13:25 left in the first half.
A three-pointer from Jake Driscoll tied the game at 22 with 10:40 remaining in the half.
MSU-Moorhead shot an efficient 10-21 on three-pointers on the afternoon.
“We’re not a team that is going to get many offensive rebounds,” Walthall said. “It is important for us to shoot the ball well, probably more so than other teams because we won’t get as many opportunities.”
The Beavers responded with a 10-3 run to build a 32-25 lead with just under six minutes left to play in the half.
The Dragons would answer with a 10-4 run of their own over the next six minutes to cut the deficit back down to just two points by halftime.
BSU led 37-35 at the half.
A three-pointer from Jordan Riewer gave MSUM its first lead of the game at 42-39 with 16:49 left to play.
Riewer finished with 16 points on 3-4 shooting from long distance.
Charlie Chapman capped off a 10-3 run with a layup to give Moorhead a 49-42 advantage.
BSU responded quickly with baskets from Mason Walters, Dermaine Crockrell, and James Ellisor to close the gap back to one point at 49-48 with 11:16 remaining.
A layup followed by a steal from Hamilton extended the Dragon lead back to seven points at 62-55 with just over four left in the game.
Hamilton scored 17 points with three three-pointers.
Moorhead hung on by knocking down its free throws and maintaining the tight defense.
“You have to give their defense some credit,” Bowen said. “But I think we left a lot of plays out there. We missed some point blank shots that you just can’t afford to miss at this juncture of the season.”
Moorhead shot 19-22 at the free throw line on the night.
Noreen and senior guard Bryce Tesdahl eached scored 11 points for the Beavers.
Bemidji State will return to the floor in the national tournament next weekend.