Bemidji State men’s basketball team defeats Minot State 74-45 with strong second half, photo gallery

Bemidji State's James Ellisor goes up for a shot over Minot State's Chris East during the first half of Friday's game at BSU Gymnasium. Pioneer Photo/Eric Stromgren

Bemidji State head coach Matt Bowen’s halftime message was clear during Friday night’s basketball game against Minot State.

“He told us to pick up our defensive intensity,” BSU’s Zach Noreen said. “In the first half we seemed to only have intensity after we made a basket and he said we need to have energy at all times on defense.”

BSU responded with a strong defensive effort and pulled away for a 74-45 victory in the second game at the InnKeepers Beaver Classic.

Minot State scored just 16 points in the second half.

“I’m pleased with the way we played in the second half,” Bowen said. “Defensively we played with some energy, had a few blocks, a few steals and that turned into some easy looks for us. That helped us go from an eight-point lead to a 15-point lead rather quickly. From there everything started to click.”

Bemidji State (4-1) won its fourth straight game and concludes the InnKeepers Beaver Classic against Michigan Tech on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Southwest Minnesota State plays Minot State at 5 p.m.

The Beavers defeated Minot State with a balanced effort as nine players scored points. James Ellisor was the leading scorer for BSU and he had a game-high 22 points to go with four blocks and four steals.

Bryce Tesdahl had 13 points and Jason Edwards added 11 points.

Josh Johnson scored 11 points and was the only Minot State player in double-figures scoring.

Minot State started the game on a 6-0 run before the Beavers responded with a 8-2 run capped by Noreen’s jumper in the paint to tie the game at 8-8.

It was the last tie of the game.

From there Bemidji State played an efficient game on both ends of the court.

The Beavers forced Minot State into 12 turnovers and had six steals in the first half. Bemidji State closed out the last four minutes of the first half on a 9-2 run and led 37-29 at halftime.

“They presented some matchup problems for us and give Josh Johnson some credit because he made some hard shots,” Bowen said. “Our offense was not fluid and Bryce Tesdahl hit some big shots for us early to stretch the game out.”

The Beavers pulled away in the opening minutes of the second half on a 10-0 run and did not allow Minot State a basket until four minutes into the half. Edwards, Schalow and Elllisor all had steals during that stretch.

Minot State managed just six points through the first 10 minutes of the second half and with 8:28 to play, Bemidji State had its biggest lead of the game at 65-36.

Bemidji State’s focus turned to Michigan Tech (4-2) after the game. The Huskies defeated the Beavers 101-88 in Houghton in a physical game last year and Noreen said the loss is on the minds of the BSU players.

“We feel good so far but we’re looking for a little payback against Michigan Tech,” Noreen said. “We’re seeking a little bit of revenge and we hope to get it.”

The Huskies were picked to win the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Conference North Division by the coaches in the preseason poll. Bowen said the Beavers will face its biggest test in the post yet this season from Tech forwards Ali Haidar and Mike Hojnacki.

“It’s going to be a challenge for us and we’re going to be doing all we can to hang on,” Bowen said. “And we can’t have 13 turnovers like we did against Minot State tonight or we’re going to be in trouble.”

Minot State (45)
Johnson 5-10 1-2 11, East 3-5 2-3 8, Pollard 3-6 0-0 7, Korf 2-7 0-0 6, Behre 2-5 0-0 4, Page 1-2 0-0 3, Yale 1-5 1-2 3, Randall 1-5 0-0 2, Henriksson 0-0 1-2 1, Jerotijevic 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-46 5-9 45.

Bemidji State (74)
Ellisor 8-12 4-4 22, Tesdahl, Bryce 5-5 0-0 13, Edwards 4-5 1-1 11, Noreen 4-6 0-1 9, Walters 3-7 0-0 6; Berthene 2-2 0-0 5, Rosenbloom 2-4 0-0 4; Rongstad 1-3 0-0 2, Krebs 1-2 0-0 2, Kinnell 0-1 0-0 0; Floyd 0-3 0-0 0; Schalow 0-4 0-0 0; Tesdahl, Brock 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 30-54 5-6 74.
Halftime: Bemidji State 37, Minot State 29.

Michigan Tech 68, Southwest Minnesota State 61

Michigan Tech defeated Southwest Minnesota State 68-61 in the opening game of the InnKeepers Beaver Classic Friday at BSU Gymnasium.

Southwest Minnesota State rallied to cut Michigan Tech’s lead to 63-61 with 2:37 to play in the second half, but the Michigan Tech defense did not allow a Mustangs basket the rest of the way and scored the gam’s final five points.

Michigan Tech’s Ali Haidar had 16 points to lead scoring for both teams. Mike Hojnacki scored 13 points and Austin Armga added 11 points for the Huskies.

Jordan Miller had 15 points and Matt Zager scored 10 points for SMSU.

Michigan Tech (68)

Haidar 6-13 4-5 16, Hojnacki 4-7 2-2 13; Armga 4-9 1-2 11, Romback 3-4 0-0 8, Culy 1-3 4-4 7, Nate Kindt 3-3 0-0 6, Reetz 2-6 1-2 5, Brown 1-4 0-0 2, Esters 0-0 0-0 0, Stelzer 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 24-53 12-15 68.

Southwest Minnesota (61)

Miller 5-13 3-3 15, Zager 4-6 0-0 10, Smith 4-7 0-0 8, Sussenguth 3-6 2-6 8, Birch 2-8 2-2 6, West 2-3 0-0 5, Barnes 0-1 4-4 4, Carlson 1-4 0-0 3, Giddings 1-3 0-0 2, Appel 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-52 11-15 61.

Halftime: Michigan Tech 34, SMSU 31.

Photo Gallery

All photos by Eric Stromgren.

Maxie Rosenbloom

Zach Noreen

Mason Walters

Bryce Tesdahl

Follow Eric Stromgren on Twitter at @estromgren and on Facebook.