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MEN'S BASKETBALL: Beavers spoil Bowen's return again, top Minnesota-Duluth 90-79

BEMIDJI — For the second consecutive season, Bemidji State spoiled the return of former head coach Matt Bowen with a 90-79 win over Minnesota Duluth Saturday at the BSU Gym.

With the win, Bemidji State moved to 3-0 in NSIC play for the first time since 2004-05.

“It really says something about our team,” senior Jake Schalow said of the 3-0 start. “I do not want to say our preseason label is our only reason for motivation, but it certainly provides fuel to our fire. Coming out 3-0 and beating two good teams in one weekend feels really good.”

“It is really nice,” Bemidji State head coach Mike Boschee added. “Obviously winning is a lot better than losing, but we are just trying to play at a high level every time we step on the court.”

An early three-pointer from Schalow sparked an 8-2 Beavers run to open the game.

A pair of three-pointers from Schalow and Zach Noreen and a layup from Ellwood Ellenson helped increase the lead to 24-7 with 9:41 remaining in the half.

“Getting a lead is something we have talked about,” Schalow said. “We had a few games where we spotted our opponent some points right away. It felt good to make our jump on somebody rather than being behind the eight ball.”

Brock Lutes scored eight consecutive points for BSU late in half to help build a 40-24 halftime lead.

Lutes finished with 30 points on 11-of-16 shooting on the night.

“He was huge tonight and we needed it,” Boschee said of Lutes. “They played a lot of zones and tried to limit our post touches. When teams try to take an aspect of our game away, we need someone to step up and Brock certainly did that tonight.”

The Beavers continued their play in the second half as a third triple from Schalow pushed the lead to 19 points at 52-33 with just under 16 minutes left.

The Bulldogs remained competitive and were able to trim the deficit down to 62-49 with 12 minutes remaining in the contest.

A three-pointer from Jordan Reetz cut the deficit down to ten points at 81-71 with 2:51 left in the game.

“We are not a very confident group right now and we have run into problems early,” Bowen said. “This is the third game in a row where we start having a reasonable amount of success in the second half after playing a bad first half.”

BSU was able to seal the game at the free throw line, where they shot 32-of-39 on the night.

“The free throw is the most efficient shot in basketball,” Boschee said. “Most coaches will be very happy if they get to the line more than their opponent.”

Reetz led the Bulldogs with 26 points and Reece Zoelle added 24 points.

Schalow contributed 16 points with three connections from long distance and Maxie Rosenbloom added a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Despite the loss, Bowen said he was proud of his former players.

“I am very proud of them,” Bowen said of his former players. “I watched them grow and they look like very good leaders. Coach Boschee and his staff has done a great job and it is fun to see them develop like they have.

“It will be a great day when I do not recognize anyone on the roster. It will be a lot more comfortable for me.”

Bemidji State (6-1, 3-0 NSIC) will return to action next weekend at MSU Moorhead and Northern State.

Bemidji State 90, Minnesota Duluth 79

Minnesota Duluth : Reetz 8-15 7-8 26, Zoelle 8-16 7-8 24, Crawford 4-8 6-8 14, Gillard 2-7 4-4 9, Olson 2-3 0-0 4, Benson 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 25-54 24-28 79.

Bemidji State: Lutes 11-16 5-5 30, Schalow 4-9 5-6 16, Rosenbloom 2-2 11-14 15, Noreen 3-8 5-7 12, Hervy 1-7 4-4 7, Farrington 2-3 0-0 4, White 1-1 2-3 4, Ellenson 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 25-49 32-39 90.

Halftime: Bemidji State 40, Minnesota Duluth 24