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BSU men's cagers fall to Minnesota State in home finale

Bemidji State's Patrick Cassidy, playing in his final home game, drives to the basket against Minnesota State's Connor O'Brien Saturday night. BSU?Photo

The Bemidji State men's basketball team was unable to pull off an upset as it lost 77-73 to No. 14 Minnesota State Saturday night in Bemidji.

"The crowd made it a great atmosphere," said Cassidy, BSU's lone senior who was honored prior to the game. "It was fun leaving it all on the line for my last home game. It was not the way we wanted to end. Now it is just a surreal feeling. It's all over."

Cassidy scored 13 points and pulled down six boards.

Minnesota State led upset-minded BSU 16-15 after 10 minutes of play and expanded the cushion to 32-21 during the next four minutes.

The Beavers, however, rallied behind Cassidy and James Ellisor to cut the Mavericks lead to 37-36 at the break

"It was very important for our confidence," BSU coach Matt Bowen said. "They were making a lot of shots and some of those were pretty well defended. Our kids showed great resilience to get back to one."

Thanks to a pair of 3-pointers from Lance Rongstad and Jake Schalow, and a layup by Zach Noreen, the Beavers tied the game 53-53 with 12 minutes to play.

The Mavericks, however, had an answer and Bemidji State's comeback bid fell a few points short.

"They are a real athletic team," said Cassidy. "They have a lot of great individual players. They work the ball around to find mismatches and that is how they score easy baskets. They are tough. Theycan make tough shots even when you play great defense."

Ellisor led all scorers with 27 points. He also grabbed five rebounds and recorded three steals.

Rongstad finished with 14 points and Bryce Tesdahl dished 10 assists.

"(The loss) certainly wasn't from a lack of effort from the kids," said Bowen. "We just did not finish it and that has kind of been the story of our year.

"I feel like this is a really good basketball team," the coach continued. "We might be the best nine-win team in the country. We play everybody really strong but we are just not resilient enough to take that competitive game into a game that we have to win."

BSU (9-15, 6-14 NSIC) will end the season with games at Upper Iowa on Friday and Winona on Saturday.

Minnesota St. (77): O'Brien 2-5, 5-7, 9; Hill 7-9, 5-6, 23; Hodges 7-11, 5-5, 21; Mason 5-10, 2-2, 12; Morrow 1-2, 0-0, 2;p Kirschbaum 2-3, 2-2, 8; Whitehead 1-1, 0-0, 2; Drapcho 0-0, 0-0, 0; Bisenius 0-0, 0-0, 0. Totals: 25-41, 19-22, 77

BSU (73): Cassidy 6-12, 1-2, 13; Walters 1-3, 0-0, 3; Ellisor 10-18, 6-7, 27; Rongstad 6-9, 1-1, 14; Tesdahl 0-3, 2-2, 2; Noreen 1-3, 3-4, 5; Rosenbloom 0-1, 0-0, 0; Schalow 3-5, 1-1, 9; Kinnell 0-0, 0-0, 0. Totals: 27-54, 14-17, 73

Fouls: Minnesota St. 17, BSU 20

Halftime: Minnesota St. 37, BSU 36