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Men's basketball: Beavers hang on to stop Dragons

BEMIDJI — Entering Friday, BSU was a part of a four-way tie atop the North Division of the NSIC. Thanks to a 77-71 over MSU Moorhead at the BSU gym, however, the tie is now with only two other teams.

Senior Maxie Rosenbloom sealed Friday’s victory with four successful free throws and a defensive rebound in the last 20 seconds of the game.

“I was just thinking ‘you do not want to be that guy who misses the free throws,’” Rosenbloom said. “Coach preaches leadership, so I just tried to do that tonight by stepping up and hitting free throws.”

Rosenbloom scored seven early points to guide the Beavers to a 16-4 lead after five minutes of play.

“It was really important to start the way we did,” BSU head coach Mike Boschee said. “Especially because of the foul trouble we got into later in the half.”

Terrell Clark, Ngijol Songolo, Isaac Sevlie, and Aaron Lien each got a basket to fuel an 8-0 Moorhead run to make the score 16-12 with 12:18 remaining in the first half.

Three-pointers from Brock Lutes and Zach Noreen helped BSU push its lead back to double digits at 24-14 with 9:03 left in the stanza.

The Beavers used a 13-3 run to increase their lead to 17 points, their largest of the half, at 37-20 with 5:25 left to play.

“Bemidji just came out and knocked us in the jaw,” MSU Moorhead head coach Chad Walthall said. “Before we knew what hit us, we were down a lot.”

BSU maintained a double-digit lead of 43-31 at the break.

The Beavers were able to keep their lead despite losing point guards DJ Hervy and Michael Farrington to foul trouble. Pat Fischer, who entered the game with just 10 minutes played all season, logged nine minutes in relief.

“He has been getting better in practice every day,” Boschee said of Fischer. “DJ and Michael have been hounding him all the time in practice and if you compare him to where he was at in the beginning of the season, he is much more confident player and it shows.”

Jake Schalow delivered four points to fuel a 6-0 run to extend the lead back to 17 points at 55-38 with 12:38 left in the game.

A layup from Prescott Williams cut the Dragons’ deficit to single digits, for the first time since midway through the first half, at 60-51 with eight minutes remaining.

Williams and Tarell Clark led a 14-6 run for Moorhead that cut the deficit to 66-63 with four minutes to play.

Schalow answered with a three-pointer to double the lead and make it 69-63 with 3:20 remaining.

“I was proud of our fight in the second half,” Walthall said. “But when you fall behind like that to a very good team, you are going to be in trouble. We just have to play with more consistency, both individually and collectively.”

On two occasions in the final 90 seconds Malik Wood connected for the Dragons and cut their deficit to two points, but each time Noreen answered with a basket of his own to keep the lead above a possession.

“You have to have players that can make the play for you when you get them the ball in the right spots,” Boschee said of Noreen. “Every time they cut it to two points he answered with a big bucket.”

Clark led MSU Moorhead with 19 points and 11 rebounds while Wood contributed 16 points in 19 minutes off the bench.

“Sometimes when you play different people, it is a good thing, but it can also mean that somebody is not doing their job,” Walthall said of Wood’s contribution off the bench. “Malik played great tonight. He is a guy who has not played a lot this year, but showed he is certainly capable.”

Rosenbloom led the Beavers with a double-double with 22 points on 8-of-9 shooting and 10 rebounds.

“Some nights you are on and some nights you are off,” Rosenbloom said. “It really helps when you are shooting two feet away from the basket all night.”

Lutes added 20 points.

MSU Moorhead (11-4 7-4 NSIC) will look to get back in the win column tonight against Minnesota Crookston.

BSU (11-4 8-3 NSIC) will look for a fifth straight win as it hosts Northern State, which is also 8-3 in conference play, at 6 p.m. tonight.

“We are going to have to bring the same focus and intensity,” Rosenbloom said. “We have to defend our home court. They whooped us good when we played at their gym.”

MSU Moorhead (71): Clark 9-19 1-5 19; Wood 5-9 6-7 16; Williams 5-5 2-2 14; Sevlie 3-5 2-2 8; Bingham 3-8 0-1 6; Vaughan 1-6 1-2 3; Songolo 1-2 1-2 3; Lien 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 28-67 13-22 71.

BSU (77): Rosenbloom 8-9 6-9 22; Lutes 7-16 4-4 20; Noreen 7-10 0-0 16; Schalow 3-6 2-2 9; Hervy 2-6 0-0 4; Farrington 1-3 0-0 2; Fischer 1-3 0-0 2; Floyd 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 30-56 12-16 77.

Halftime: BSU 43, MSU Moorhead 31