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Beavers move into first place: With victory over Wolves, BSU extends winning streak to five games

BSU Photo Services BSU's Zach Noreen goes up for two of his 20 points during Saturday's 85-77 victory over Northern State. Trying to defend the shot is Northern's Carter Evans.

BEMIDJI — BSU moved into sole possession of first place of the NSIC North Division with a 85-77 win over Northern State — which entered the game tied with BSU — Saturday at the BSU gym.

Saturday’s victory coupled with Friday’s 77-71 win over MSU Moorhead gives BSU a 9-3 record in the NSIC North Division. Northern dipped to 8-4 after falling to the Beavers while St. Cloud and Moorhead, who began the weekend tied with the Beavers and Northern, both lost Friday and were 7-4 prior to Saturday’s action.

“It is sure as heck a lot better than being at the bottom,” BSU head coach Mike Boschee said of moving into first place. “It is still barely over the halfway point, so I have to keep it in perspective. We still have a lot of work to do and a lot of room to improve. Hopefully our guys are willing to do that.”

The win was the fifth in a row for BSU.

The Beavers offense took an early blow when Zach Noreen, who scored the team’s first six points on a pair of three-pointers, picked up two fouls in the first four minutes.

“It is not a comfortable feeling, that is for sure,” Boschee said. “To lose one of your go-to players that early in the game is tough. Dillon (Floyd) and Shane (White) did a great job off the bench and Maxie was a workhorse tonight. He battled all night long against some very good post players.”

Rosenbloom scored 12 points and pulled down a game-high eight rebounds in 40 minutes.

“There is nothing more frustrating, especially in a big game like this,” Noreen added. “It was really tough to be on the bench for the last 16 minutes of the first half.”

Jake Schalow followed his own miss with a tip-in to tie the score at 16-16 with 10:30 left in the first half.

The Wolves held a brief lead at 19-16, but Floyd answered with back-to-back three-pointers to give the Beavers a 22-19 lead with just under seven minutes remaining in the opening half.

“He has not gotten much playing time this season until recently,” Noreen said of his teammate. “I am so proud of him for coming in and showing what he can do. He has been a very consistent player coming off the bench for us lately.”

Five points from Tydan Storrusten fueled a 7-0 run for Northern State that helped regain the lead at 30-28 with 2:17 to play but BSU took a 35-34 lead to the locker room at the break.

Brock Lutes hit a pair of free throws to cap off an 8-2 run that gave the Beavers a 45-38 lead three minutes into the second stanza.

A three-pointer from Skye Warwick knotted the score at 53-53 with 11:02 left in the game.

Schalow knocked down three-pointers on consecutive possessions, and was fouled on the second one for a four-point play, to extend the BSU lead to double digits at 72-62 with 4:54 left to play.

“To be honest, I felt pure excitement,” Schalow said. “Once you hit a couple of shots you always want more to give it a heat check. We called a play that gave Zach an open shot, but he was very unselfish and threw it back to set up an open shot for me.”

The Wolves got as close as seven points in the final minute, but Schalow’s 8-for-8 free throw shooting helped the Beavers hang on for the win.

“You have to love it,” Noreen said of the team’s ability to make free throws late in the game. “Jake is number one in the country right now. When he is at the line, it is a sigh of relief.”

Seth Bachand, of Northern State, led all scorers with 23 points on 11-of-15 shooting.

Schalow led the Beavers with 21 points, while Noreen was right behind with 20 of his own.

BSU (12-4, 9-3 NSIC) will look to stay hot as it travels to U-Mary and Minot State next weekend.

“It feels amazing,” Schalow said of the weekend sweep. “It is still kind of sinking in right now. We can enjoy it tonight, but we need to make sure we come ready to work next week. Our spot is a rented spot, but if we can keep playing well, I do not see how we should lose the spot.”

Northern State (77), Bachand 11-15 1-1 23; Storrusten 3-9 4-7 12; Peterka 4-9 0-0 10; Pankonin 3-6 0-0 8; Zomer 2-8 4-5 8; Hannigan 3-7 0-0 6; Warwick 1-6 2-2 5; Schreiber 1-2 2-2 4; Evans 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 28-64 14-19 77.

BSU (85), Schalow 5-9 8-8 21; Noreen 8-14 2-3 20; Lutes 4-15 7-9 16; Rosenbloom 4-5 4-4 12; Floyd 3-3 0-0 8; Hervy 2-5 0-0 5; Farrington 1-2 1-2 3. Totals 27-53 22-26 85.

Halftime: BSU 35, Northern State 34