BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji State men’s basketball team is crashing the party at the Pentagon this weekend.
The eighth-seeded Beavers shocked the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference when they beat top-seeded Minnesota State 66-56 in the first round of the NSIC Tournament on Wednesday, Feb. 27, to reach the quarterfinal round at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.
“We all come into the postseason at 0-0,” BSU freshman Cody Landwehr said. “All the upper seeds have a target on their head. It kind of helps coming in as an eight seed, you come in without any pressure on you.”
Landwehr played his part, scoring 16 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in Bemidji State’s first playoff win since 2013. He’s been a double-double machine with four in the last five games while averaging 14.8 points and 10 boards.
“He’s a big guy that can really impact the game in a lot of ways,” Bemidji State head coach Mike Boschee said. “His size, strength and athleticism you don’t see a lot in our league. … He’s certainly been playing as an all-conference-type person these last four, five, six games.”
Landwehr had a limited role before his late-season surge. He credits his uptick in production to growing into it as the season progressed.
“I’ve grown comfortable with my position and playing with everyone,” he said. “I think that everyone feels a little more comfortable feeding the ball into the post when I’m in there.
“A lot of us really haven’t played together before this season. We had a lot of new guys that came in. Now that we have a whole season under our belt, I think that helps out a lot.”
In part to Landwehr’s efforts, the Beavers booked reservations for the Pentagon as the talk of the league. They next match up with fifth-seeded Southwest Minnesota State in the building where SMSU senior standout Ryan Bruggeman has made his second home.
“It’s been said all the time, but it’s survive and advance. It’s the only mindset you can have,” Boschee said. “You’ve got to have guys that want to continue to play at a high level. … We have it in us, we’ve just got to be able to deliver it.”
Tipoff against the Mustangs (11-12) is set for 5:30 p.m. Sunday in Sioux Falls, where the Beavers will hope to extend their run one by another game.
“No one on this team has made it this far in the tournament, after the first game,” Landwehr said. “Everyone’s pretty excited, but we all have to know that we have a team to beat. We just have to focus on them for now.”