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Defense carries Bemidji St. past SMSU

Bemidji State’s Dermaine Crockwell dribbles past SMSU defender Vinard Birch during Friday’s game. BSU Photo Services

BEMIDJI – The Bemidji State men’s basketball team showed a dominant effort on defense in its 61-40 win over University of Mary Friday at the BSU gym.

“We have been really good on that end the last three or four games now,” Bemidji State head coach Mike Boschee said. “I think we are starting to develop an identity that we are going to be good defensively on a daily basis. To play with the best teams, we have to be outstanding on defense.”

BSU forced 18 turnovers and held U-Mary to just 27 percent shooting.

“The mindset on defense is basically just do your job,” senior guard Dermaine Crockrell said. “From there, we can help each other out and hustle to rebounds and loose balls. It builds momentum.”

The Beavers held a 7-0 lead before the Marauders scored their first basket, six minutes into the game. A 3-pointer from Tor Anderson and a layup from Crockrell gave BSU a 17-10 lead with nine minutes to play in the first half.

Zach Noreen and Crockrell scored baskets in the final 1:15 of the first half to give Bemidji State a 26-19 lead at the break.

Crockrell led all scorers with 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting.

“I missed a lot of shots early, so I just started going to the basket,” Crockrell said. “A lay-up is a much more high-percentage shot than a 3-pointer, where I was 1-for-6.”

A pair of early early baskets from Crockrell and an alley-oop off of an inbound pass to Mason Walters propelled BSU to a quick 8-2 run to start the second half.

“It was huge,” Boschee said of the quick start to the second half. “We got a lot of good looks in the first half, we took 15 threes and, at most, one or two of them were questionable shots. We got the ball inside more in the second half to take pressure off of the threes.”

A basket from Sean Jones with 12:53 remaining in the game capped a 17-2 scoring run for the Beavers to build a 43-21 lead.

“We found out what they were doing defensively,” Crockrell said. “Coach made his adjustments and we started to execute better in the second half.”

U-Mary trimmed its deficit to 17 points, but a 3-pointer from Crockrell and a pair of baskets from Lance Rongstad put BSU up by 27 with just over five minutes to play.

Rongstad finished with 11 points, four assists and four rebounds.

The Marauders finished the game on a 9-2 scoring run, but the Beavers held on for a comfortable 21-point win.

Jason Edwards started the game and played just seven minutes due to a head injury that he suffered early on. His status is still uncertain.

Bemidji State (5-3, 3-1 NSIC) will look to stay hot when it hosts Minot State at 6 p.m. today.

U-Mary (40) Dorr 12 4-9 2-2, Tyler 9 3-11 2-3, Stewart 7 3-5 0-0, Turner 4 1-9, 1-2, Jaspers 4 1-3 2-2, Ledger 2 0-2 2-2, Jensen 2 1-1 0-0, Johnson 0 0-2 0-0, Musungayi 0 0-3 0-0, Robinson 0 0-1 0-0, Maslonkowski 0-1 0-0. Totals 40 13-47 9-11.

Bemidji State (61) Crockrell 22 9-15 3-5, Rongstad 11 5-9 1-1, Walters 11 5-8 1-2, Noreen 8 4-8 0-3, Jones 5 2-4 1-2, Anderson 3 1-6, Farrington 1 0-5 1-2, Edwards 0 0-1 0-0, Rosenbloom 0 0-2 0-0, Long 0 0-0 0-0, Schalow 0 0-0 0-0, Floyd 0 0-0 0-0, Tesdahl 0 0-0 0-0. Totals 61 26-58 6-10.

Halftime: Bemidji State 26 U-Mary 19