Bemidji State men’s basketball receives vote in Division II top 25 poll

Bemidji State's James Ellisor goes up for a basket last Friday against Minnesota State University, Mankato. Photo via BSU Photo Services.

The Bemidji State men’s basketball team earned one vote in the National Association of Basketball Coaches Division II top 25 poll released Tuesday.

“It doesn’t mean a darn thing at midseason, but it’s certainly fun to be recognized for what we’ve accomplished thus far,” BSU head coach Matt Bowen said.

The Beavers (14-5 overall, 9-4 NSIC) are tied for third place in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference standings with Minnesota State University, Moorhead.

The Beavers defeated MSU, Mankato 100-77 and Southwest Minnesota State 75-67 last weekend at BSU Gymnasium, and will take a three-game winning streak on the road to the Dakotas this weekend.

BSU faces U-Mary on Friday night in Bismarck and Northern State on Saturday in Aberdeen. Bowen is expecting the Beavers to be tested this weekend and throughout the season’s stretch run.

“Our kids don’t know this yet, but things change now that we’ve got a vote in the top 25 and we’re in the top end of the conference,” Bowen said. “When you become the hunted things change.”

This week marks BSU’s first appearance in the national poll under Bowen, who has coached BSU since 2006.

“We’ve been on the other side where we want to knock teams off. We’re going to get a little extra effort from people. It’s kind of like playing king of the hill in second grade when people want to knock you off. We’re not king of the hill but we’re getting close. That’s a tremendous testament for us and it’s great we withstood our home stand. Now that we’ve won three in a row, the next few weekends are going to get harder.”

This year’s BSU team is the fastest to 14 wins since the 1972-73. That team also was 14-5 through 19 games.

Other NSIC teams in the poll are Winona State at No. 6 and St. Cloud State at No. 13.

Moorhead fell out of the top 25 and received 11 votes, the most outside the top 25.

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