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MEN’S BASKETBALL: Beavers suffer more late-game heartache in 55-53 spoiler

Saturday’s loss dropped Bemidji State to 0-10 in conference games decided by 10 points or fewer. And more often than not, they’ve come by BSU’s own undoing.

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Bemidji State sophomore Dalton Albrecht (0) dives for the ball in the second half against U-Mary on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI -- Late-game situations are magnified in sports. The points may count the same, but they can hurt a whole lot worse.

Such was the fate of the Bemidji State men’s basketball team on Saturday night, losing 55-53 to U-Mary inside the BSU Gymnasium on a back-breaking game-winner two seconds remaining.

“That’s sports. The highs and lows are dramatically different,” head coach Mike Boschee said. “You think you have a chance to win the game, and you need one stop. … It’s really hard. But it’s not the first time.”

The Beavers faced a similar result in a season piling up with them. Saturday’s loss dropped Bemidji State to 0-10 in conference games decided by 10 points or fewer. And more often than not, they’ve come by BSU’s own undoing.

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Bemidji State senior Tyler Behrendt (12) moves the ball in the first half against the University of Mary on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

“In all of our losses, we’ve been up,” Boschee said. “It’s just the same thing that happened. We can’t clear the rebounds, we can’t make the big shot, can’t make the big free throws. It makes it difficult.”

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The Beavers (7-14, 4-13 NSIC) seized all the momentum with a late 22-4 run, and they were up 53-46 with three minutes to play. But they didn’t score again.

Bemidji State still led 53-52 with 24.9 seconds remaining, but Dalton Albrecht missed the front end of single-bonus free throws. That allowed Lucas Mayer to score the go-ahead basket for the Mauraders on an and-one putback with 2.1 seconds left on the clock.

The sting was way too familiar for BSU’s liking, particularly in that fashion.

“There really isn’t a feeling like it,” said sophomore forward John Sutherland. “Especially when you’re up at the end, it’s a big and-one. It’s tough.”

The Marauders (8-14, 7-10 NSIC) appeared to be in comfortable control for much of the game. The Beavers struggled offensively early, mustering just 20 points in the first 20 minutes and going on extended scoring droughts.

U-Mary carried a 29-20 edge into halftime, which held at 42-31 with 10:30 remaining in the second half.

Bemidji State then turned on the jets, however, reeling off the next eight points to spark a dominant 22-4 run. Sutherland started it with an inside score, Derek Thompson added an and-one tip in and Travis Bianco brought the crowd to life with a 3-pointer that got BSU within 42-39.

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Bemidji State senior Mohamed Kone (3) looks to pass the ball in the first half against the University of Mary on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Mohamed Kone tied the game at 44-44, which jumpstarted an individual nine-point flurry within 3:11.

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“You’re feeling awfully good (at that point). We totally flipped it,” Boschee said. “Momo was feeling good. I think he made three or four plays out of it… and it’s all really good.”

Kone’s last bucket finished off the giant run and gave the Beavers a 53-46 edge. But from then on out, Bemidji State was 0-for-4 from the floor and fumbled away the ball at the buzzer instead of getting up a final shot.

“It’s always tough to lose a tight game like that, especially how it ended there,” Sutherland said. “That’s a big back-breaker, for sure. The missed free throw and then the O-board, it’s just super tough to overcome that.”

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Bemidji State sophomore John Sutherland (23) looks to catch a pass in the first half against the University of Mary on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Sutherland finished with 14 points to lead BSU, while Bianco had 13 as the only other Beaver in double figures.

Gertautas Urbonavicius netted a game-high 18 for U-Mary.

Bemidji State is back in action at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11, against Northern State in Aberdeen, S.D.

U-Mary 55, Bemidji State 53

U-M 29 26 -- 55

BSU 20 33 -- 53

U-MARY (8-14, 7-10 NSIC) -- Urbonavicius 18, Atelbauers 10, Mayer 9, Huntsberry 4, Jackson 4, Radakovic 4, Johnson 3, Warrens 3. Totals: 20-52 FGs, 8-20 3-pt. FGs, 7-9 FTs.

BEMIDJI STATE (7-14, 4-13 NSIC) -- Sutherland 14, Bianco 13, Kone 9, Thompson 8, Albrecht 5, Lowman 3, Landwehr 1. Totals: 21-53 FGs, 6-19 3-pt. FGs, 5-9 FTs.

Micah Friez is the former sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he worked at the Pioneer from 2015-23 and is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing.
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