MEN’S BASKETBALL: Beavers close home slate with MSUM, NSU
BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji State men’s basketball team is ready to take the weekend head on.
“If we can win on that Friday game, it really builds momentum into the Saturday game,” freshman forward Zach Baumgartner said. “We’ve lost a lot of (Saturday games) this year, and it really shows in our record. If we can play the full 40 minutes on that Saturday, it shows teams that we’re able to compete for that full 40 minutes on that Saturday, and not just play the first 20.”
In each of the past four weeks, the Beavers (10-13, 7-11 Northern Sun) have won their Friday matchup, but followed with a Saturday loss to close the weekend.
But BSU head coach Mike Boschee still has a one-game-at-a-time approach.
“I don’t know that I’ve ever looked at it as two games as opposed to the one game ahead of us,” he said. “It’s mainly the Friday opponent, and then what you do is get ready for the Saturday opponent as much as you can on Saturday by watching film, going over scouting reports and things like that. The focus is on just trying to win on Friday, and then we’ll see what we can do Saturday.”
Bemidji State has Minnesota State Moorhead and No. 12 Northern State on its radar this weekend, where the Beavers will be playing at the BSU Gymnasium for the final time in the regular season.
“You always want to play well at home,” Boschee said. “You’re playing in front of your home fans, and hopefully they can give you a little boost of adrenaline and energy to play well. That’s what we’ll end up trying to do this weekend -- trying to play as well as we can on our home court.”
Bemidji State closes the season series with the Dragons (6-18, 4-14 NSIC) and the Wolves (23-3, 16-2 NSIC) after splitting with the teams Dec. 8-9 -- a 75-54 loss to NSU and an 82-81 win over MSUM.
“We beat (Moorhead) the first time, so they’re obviously going to have a little chip on their shoulder. But they swept us last year, so we also have that chip,” Baumgartner said. “Northern State, they have the best record in the North right now. They’re coming head-hunting for us, thinking we’re going to be a pushover. We get them on Saturday, so if we win on Friday, we have to take that momentum into Saturday and go get a win there.”
The weekend will begin at 8 tonight against MSU Moorhead. The Northern State matchup with follow at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, for BSU’s home finale, but it’s still to be determined whether it will be the last game in town this season.
The Beavers currently have a one-game lead for fourth in the NSIC North standings, which would guarantee a home playoff game in years past. But with a new rule put in place by the Northern Sun this season, a lower-seeded team could host a higher-seeded opponent if it has a better conference record.
The eight teams in each division are seeded amongst themselves to determine matchups with the corresponding cross-division teams. With four games left to play, BSU has a 7-11 NSIC mark in the North, while Augustana, currently fifth in the NSIC South, sits 9-9.
But with intricacies and scenarios yet to play out, Bemidji State remains focused on itself.
“As far as our record goes, if he want a home (playoff) game, we have to win out,” Baumgartner said. “It relies on a lot of other teams doing other things, too, but we have to win out. So we have to take care of that first.”