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MEN'S BASKETBALL: Beavers miss comeback in 78-72 loss

MARSHALL -- After answering back and rallying for a late tie on the road, the Bemidji State men’s basketball team saw its hopes dashed at the finish for a 78-72 loss against Southwest Minnesota State in Marshall on Saturday.

The Beavers (7-10, 4-8 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) came back from a 12-point deficit in the second half, fighting into 68-68 and 70-70 ties with just over two minutes to play. But then the Mustangs (13-5, 9-3 NSIC) stormed away, rattling off seven in a row while BSU missed two front ends of single-bonus free throws in the final minute.

Cartner Kirk started the fatal run with an and-one and added another inside score as SMSU survived for the 78-72 win.

Bemidji State played from behind for most of the night, starting with a 14-6 deficit less than five minutes in. But the Beavers worked back into it, using an 8-0 run for a 14-all tie before Sharif Black drained a three for BSU’s first and only lead, 22-21.

Southwest Minnesota State finished the opening half with the final eight points, however, to take a 38-28 advantage into the break.

Early in the second half, Kirk completed a three-point play to put the Mustangs up 49-37. But Bemidji State worked back within striking distance from there -- including a quick 7-0 run started by a Logan Bader 3-pointer -- which led to a Christian Pekarek three that tied things up at 68-all. Bader followed with a jumper for another tie at 70-70, but then the Mustangs ran away with the win over the final 2 minutes, 18 seconds through an 8-2 edge.

Jai’Vionne Green led the Beavers with 16 points, while Black followed with 15. Bader added 14 points and nine rebounds, and Pekarek chipped in 13 points to go along with seven assists and six boards.

For SMSU, Kirk dropped 25 and hauled in 10 rebounds, and KJ Davis added another 17 points.

Bemidji State will be back in action at 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 19, to host Minot State at the BSU Gymnasium.

SMSU 78, Bemidji State 72

BSU 28 44 -- 72

SMSU 38 40 -- 78

Bemidji State (7-10, 4-8 NSIC) -- Green 16, Black 15, Bader 14, Pekarek 13, Baumgartner 6, Thompson 6, Chase 2. Totals 28-57 9-13 72.

SMSU (13-5, 9-3 NSIC) -- Kirk 25, Davis 17, Lee 9, Schafer 8, Dufault 7, Bruggeman 6, Byers 4, Moen 2, Bartlett 0. Totals 30-65 10-12 78.

Micah Friez

Micah Friez is a sports reporter for the Echo Press in Alexandria. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing. Follow him on Twitter at @micahfriez for Alexandria area sports updates and jokes he thinks are funny.

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