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Bemidji State men's basketball: U-Mary defense contains BSU offense in loss

Bemidji State's Burke Lendl goes up for a shot over U-Mary's Eric Erdmann, right, Friday night at BSU Gymnasium. BSU Photo Services

The Bemidji State men's basketball was unable to snap a season-long four game losing streak with a 71-60 loss to University of Mary Friday night at the BSU gym.

"In all five games we have allowed our opponents to shoot over 50 percent," BSU head coach Matt Bowen said. "We have to find a way to make stops at opportune times. A lot of it has to do with the teams that we are playing. We have basically played the top-half of the NSIC in five of our last six games and that has taken a toll on our win-loss record."

The Beavers (7-11, 4-10 NSIC) were unable to rally back from a late 16-point deficit.

BSU scored its first nine points on a trio of three point shots from sophomore guard Lance Rongstad, sophomore forward Mason Walters, and junior forward James Ellisor.

Rongstad and Ellisor led the Beavers with 16 points each. Ellisor also grabbed six rebounds.

Bemidji State led 11-3 after five minutes of play.

U-Mary took its first lead at 18-17 with 6:01 left to play in the first half.

"Our defense can take energy out of some teams," said Bowen. "Give them credit, they made some shots, but I think the difference in the game was U-Mary's defense. They were in the right position, they clogged up the lanes, and forced us to shoot a lot of threes. We shot 27 perecnt from three, and that is not going to win us any ballgames."

Following a last-second three-pointer, the Marauders had its largest lead of the half 32-26, at halftime.

The Marauders quickly pushed its lead to double digits in the opening minutes of the second half.

Following a lay-up from Ellisor at the 12:16 mark, the Marauders scored the next eight points over the next five minutes to separate the two teams by 16 points.

The Beavers scored answered with an 8-0 run of its own which cut the lead to 59-51 with 5:52 left to play.

A third three-pointer from Walters made it five point game with 2:18 remaining.

Walters finished with 13 points.

Jordan Wilhelm provided the dagger for U-Mary, his three-pointer with 1:16 left extended the lead to nine.

Senior forward Pat Cassidy grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.

BSU, who came in to the contest ranked No.3 in the country at the free-throw line, shot a perfect 14-14 at the charity stripe.

"We do that well," said Bowen of the free-throw shooting, "but we do not get there enough. If that is such a pivotal part of our offense, then we have to be able to drive to the basket and get the ball inside better and we just are not doing that at a level that we need to for us to be successful."

Bemidji State hosts Northern State tonight at 6 p.m.

Friday's box score is listed in today's scoreboard on page 6.