FAYETTE, Iowa -- For the first time in the program’s 98-year history, the Bemidji State men’s basketball team has played three straight overtime games. And the Beavers have come up short in all of them.
Friday’s edition was a 105-93 double-overtime loss at Upper Iowa, where the Peacocks outscored BSU 13-3 over the final two minutes of the game.
It was an uphill climb for Bemidji State (8-7, 5-6 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) to reach the second frame of free basketball. Though the Beavers led for the vast majority of the first half -- by as much as 22-12 -- UIU (10-7, 7-4 NSIC) entered the break with a 46-42 advantage.
BSU sputtered behind but used a 10-0 run to return within a basket, and yet Upper Iowa rattled off a 12-2 burst to jump in front 66-54 midway through the second half. From then on, Bemidji State inched back.
The Beavers never regained the lead in regulation, but the Peacocks missed two front ends of bonus free throws in the final 33.8 seconds. The window was just the opening Nick Wagner needed, as he scored five unanswered points in the final 24.7 seconds, including a game-tying 3-pointer that brought on overtime at 76-76.
The next five minutes went back and forth, and neither team led by more than three. Bemidji State went ahead 85-83 on a Derek Thompson and-one layup, and Logan Bader’s inside score later served as the go-ahead bucket with 28.9 seconds remaining.
Once Upper Iowa tied it at 88-all at the free-throw line, Wagner missed a step-back 3-pointer just before the buzzer.
In double overtime, Thompson put in a free throw for a 92-90 deficit with just over two minutes to go. But Jake Hilmer then drained a corner three for a five-point lead, swinging the night in a permanent direction as the start of the 13-3 closing run.
Thompson finished with 27 points -- his fourth straight game with 26-plus -- along with 13 rebounds. Bader put up 21 points and a career-high 17 boards, while Wagner added 20 points.
Upper Iowa fielded five in double figures, led by Joe Smoldt’s 21.
The Beavers will try to correct course at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, in a road game at Winona State.
Upper Iowa 105, Bemidji State 93 (2OT)
BSU 42 34 12 5 -- 93
UIU 46 30 12 17 -- 105
BEMIDJI STATE (8-7, 5-6 NSIC) -- Thompson 27, Bader 21, Wagner 20, Bjorklund 10, Baumgartner 9, Chase 6, Hart 0, Landwehr 0. Totals 36-89, 11-17, 93.
UPPER IOWA (10-7, 7-4 NSIC) -- Smoldt 21, Moritz 20, Hilmer 18, Carter 16, L. Duax 14, Jones 6, Joens 5, Williams 3, Foley 2, M. Duax 0. Totals 35-80, 25-35, 105.