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Bemidji State men's basketball team falls to Minnesota-Duluth

Bemidji State's James Ellisor (34) drives past Minnesota-Duluth defender Ryan Rasmussen Saturday at the BSU Gymnasium. BSU Photo

The Bemidji State men's basketball team lost in the battle of struggling teams Saturday, falling to Minnesota-Duluth 89-75 at the BSU Gymnasium.

The loss was the sixth consecutive loss for BSU, a season-long losing streak. The win for UMD was its first in the new calendar year. Its nine-game skid begun with the 101-76 loss to BSU in Duluth on Jan. 3.

Bemidji State played without sophomore guard Lance Rongstad, who was sidelined with an injury. Rongstad is scoring 11.1 points per game and shooting 89.7 percent at the free throw line.

Freshman forwards Zach Noreen and Maxie Rosenbloom each saw minutes in place of Rongstad. Noreen made his first career start.

"We are in a losing streak," said head coach Matt Bowen. "I need to find something, whether it is the rotation or inserting different kids to get us out of this funk. Zach and Max have played well in practice, they have been patient, and have waited their turn. I thought they did well while they were in there."

The Beavers (7-13, 4-12 NSIC) were victims of red-hot outside shooting of the Bulldogs. The visitors made 9 of 13 shots from beyond the arc in the first half.

"It is extremely frustrating," Bowen said of UMD's outside shooting, "especially considering all the time we have put in on this in practice."

UMD also outrebounded BSU by a count of 38-24. Its 15 offensive rebounds led to 15 second-chance points.

"Rebounding was huge," said Bowen. "They hit all kinds of outside shots in the first half, so we adjusted to that and they killed us down low."

The hot shooting and rebounding edge attributed to a 50-32 lead for the Bulldogs at halftime.

"In the first half they were hitting shots everywhere," said BSU junior guard James Ellisor, who led all scorers with 28 points. "We were late in our defensive rotations. They were shooting a high percentage from three-point range and we were not able to stop them."

Ellisor and the Beavers were determined to cut into the Bulldogs' lead in the second half. After a trio of jumpers from Ellisor, the lead was cut to 10 with 13:16 left to play.

Sophomore Mason Walters added 18 points with a pair of 3-pointers for the Beavers.

Junior guard Bryce Tesdahl scored seven points and recorded a team-high six assists.

"I was proud of our guys for digging out of an 18 point hole and getting it to nine a couple times," said Bowen. We battled, but until we fix the mistakes on the defensive end, we will not get rewarded for what we want to do."

MINN.- DULUTH: Rasmussen 8-14 0-0 22; Ervin 8-15 4-6 20; Hottenstine 7-18 1-2 20; Rodriguez 5-9 0-0 10; Kornbaum 2-2 2-2 6; McDonald 2-3 0-0 6; Crawford 0-1 5-6 5; Homere 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 32-66 12-16 89.

BEMIDJI STATE: Ellisor 11-18 5-7 28; Walters 6-9 4-5 18; Cassidy 3-6 2-2 8; Tesdahl 2-6 2-2 7; Lindstrom 2-4 0-0 4; Lendl 1-3 2-2 4; Schalow 1-2 2-2 4; Rosenbloom 1-3 0-0 2; Shepherd 0-1 0-0 0; Noreen, Zach 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 27-53 17-20 75.

Minn.-Duluth 50 39 - 89

Bemidji State 32 43 - 75

A: 884