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MEN'S BASKETBALL: BSU offense can't get going as hot-shooting Michigan Tech wins big

Bemidji State’s Mason Walters takes a shot during the second half of the Beavers’ 86-59 loss to Michigan Tech at the SDC Gym in Houghton, Mich., Tuesday. Ali Haidar (34), Alex Culy (right) and Phil Romback look on for the Huskies. David Archambeau | Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Bemidji State men’s basketball team ran into a hot shooting Michigan Tech squad Tuesday in Houghton, Mich., falling 86-59 in nonconference action.

The loss drops the Beavers to 1-2, but BSU will look to even its record to .500 today in its nonconference finale.

The Beavers take on Division-III Finlandia, another team from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, at 4 p.m. today in Hancock, Mich.

Tuesday night, the Huskies (2-1) shot a scorching 77.3 percent from the field and 72.7 percent from 3-point land in the first half of the win.

Tech’s Ali Haidar finished the game with a career-high 35 points in 31 minutes of action – including 18 points in the first eight minutes of the game – to help the Huskies run away with the game.

Junior Zach Noreen led BSU in scoring for the third consecutive game with 13 points and two rebounds. Senior Mason Walters finished with 10 points and four rebounds, while senior Dermaine Crockrell added 10 points.

The Beavers shot 50 percent in the first half to keep themselves in the game, but it was no match for the Huskies, who started the contest 13-for-14 from the field and had a nine-point lead at 16-7 just five minutes into the game.

The Beavers battled back with a jumper from Crockrell, a 3-pointer from senior Sean Jones and two free throws from senior Mason Walters to cut the deficit to four at 16-12.

Unfortunately for BSU, an 8-2 run by the Huskies pushed their lead to 10 at 26-16.

Again the Beavers came back and cut the deficit to five at 26-21 on a Jason Edwards 3-pointer with 9:13 remaining, but five would be as close as the Beavers would get the rest of the way, as MTU took a 47-34 lead into halftime.

At the break, the Huskies were 17-for-22 from the field, 8-for-11 from 3-point land and 5-for-6 from the charity stripe, missing just six shots in the opening 20 minutes. The Beavers didn’t have a bad first half after shooting 50 percent from the field and went 4-for-9 (44.4 percent) from beyond the arc.

The team was able to turn MTU over eight times and converted that into a 13-5 advantage on points off turnovers.

BSU also cleaned-up the offensive glass with a 4-0 mark in that category to score four points, but that still wasn’t enough against the highly-efficient Huskies.

Any hopes the Beavers had that the Huskies would slow in the second half were quickly squashed when the home team took a 56-36 lead five minutes into the second half.

MTU shot “just” 50 percent in the second half and finished the contest shooting 62.0 percent. The Huskies went 10-for-17 (58.8 percent) from the 3-point line.

BSU finished shooting 33.9 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from beyond the arc.