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MEN'S BASKETBALL: Beavers look to stay in win column despite tough weekend slate

BEMIDJI -- Bemidji State hopes to build on its 1-0 start in NSIC as it will host St. Cloud State and Minnesota Duluth this weekend at the BSU Gym.

After falling to Michigan Tech in the non-conference finale, the Beavers bounced back with a 78-63 win over Minnesota Crookston last Saturday to begin its conference season.

"It was a great game for us to get back on the winning note," Bemidji State head coach Mike Boschee said. "It was a good business-like approach that I really appreciated from our guys. We played hard, smart, and together. Usually that is a pretty good formula to win games."

"It is always nice to start conference play being 1-0 rather than 0-1," senior guard Jake Schalow added. "We had to go over there and take care of business. It was just good to get out of there with a win, because I know a lot of teams have gone there and slipped up."

The first home weekend of NSIC play will begin with SCSU, who is 5-0 and receiving votes to be ranked nationally.

"They are solid all the way around," Schalow said. "There really is not one weak spot where we can attack them, but I think if we play a good game, we can beat anybody. I would not cast us out of anything, but we will have to play well to beat them."

Boschee recalls the physicality last season's 75-71 victory over the Huskies in the season's final conference game and expects the same style of play in this meeting.

"Last year when we played them at our place, it was probably the most physical game we played in all year," Boschee said. "I expect the same this time. They are a well-coached that does a lot of things offensively that makes it hard to prepare for."

Saturday's contest will feature the second return of former Bemidji State head coach, Matt Bowen. The Beavers defeated the Bulldogs twice last season, including a 79-64 win at home.

"It is a little bittersweet," Schalow said of seeing his former coach on the opposing sideline. "It will be different from last year because I have an increased role when it comes to playing time."

"We still have to treat it like any other game," Schalow continued. "We have to work hard to try to get the win."

For Boschee, the main concern in playing UMD comes with their versatility and ability to spread out while on offense.

"Duluth is a team that spaces the floor really well," Boschee said. "If they are hitting jumpers from the perimeter they are really tough to beat. My biggest concern with them is being able to cover all five players in different positions on the floor."

Friday's contest with SCSU will begin at 8 p.m. while Saturday's tilt with UMD is slated to start at 6 p.m.

"You want to go into every weekend thinking two wins," Schalow said. "Until something happens that changes that possibility, it is the goal."