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Bemidji State men's basketball team picks up weekend NSIC sweep

CROOKSTON-- Freshman Lance Rongstad scored a career-high 26 points and sophomore Bryce Tesdahl had a career-high 22 to lead the Bemidji State men's basketball team to an 81-64 victory Saturday over Minnesota-Crookston.

The Beavers earned the conference road sweep for the first time this season and the first time in head coach Matt Bowen's four years at BSU.

"We executed our game plan tonight," Bemidji State head coach Matt Bowen said. "We effectively used our inside/out game and it led to lay-ups and high percentage shots. I'm proud of our effort and it feels good to get the road sweep."

Rongstad hit a jumper on BSU's first possession to give the Beavers a 2-0 lead and the road team never looked back. With 12:52 left in the half, BSU owned a 10-point advantage at 16-6 after two free throws from Tesdahl. UMC was able to cut the deficit to five with 10:47 remaining and the scoreboard showing 18-13. The Beavers then rattled-off seven unanswered points, getting five from Tesdahl and two from freshman David Berthene.

BSU played strong defense at the end of the first half to take a 43-23 lead at the break.

The Beavers shot 61.9 percent from the field in the first half and converted on 14-of-15 free throws. Rongstad had 17 of his 26 in the first half and Tesdahl had accumulated 15 points.

Though UMC played tough in the second half, the Beavers played consisted and went on a 12-6 run to take an 18-point lead with 4:16 left. The Beaver lead never let the lead go below 16 for the rest of the contest.

Rongstad tied a career-high in field goals made with eight, established career-highs in free throws made (10) and free throws attempted (11).

Tesdahl went a perfect 6-of-6 from the field, 1-for-1 from 3-point land and 9-for-11 from the free throw line, while tying a career-high with five steals. Haake scored 16 points and had a team-high six rebounds.

The Beavers shot 51.1 percent from the field, surpassing the 50 percent mark for the first time since Jan. 16.

BSU will host Finlandia University in a nonconference bout Feb. 16 at 7 p.m.