BEMIDJI -- When the other team can’t miss, it sure is hard to keep up.
That was the case for the Bemidji State men’s basketball team on Saturday, victims of a Herculean showing from No. 7 Northern State in a 100-63 loss at the BSU Gymnasium.
“When you’re playing a team like this, you need them to not shoot unbelievably well,” Bemidji State head coach Mike Boschee said. “They dominated us in the paint tonight. When you do that, it usually opens up a lot of things on the perimeter. That was their formula, and it worked well for them.”
The Wolves (4-0, 2-0 NSIC North) shot 64% from the field for the afternoon, and everything was falling throughout long stretches that buried the Beavers (1-3, 0-2 NSIC North) in a hurry.
“They can really stretch the floor, they have a lot of good shooters,” said senior guard Griffin Chase. “For ourselves, we just have to be really disciplined on defense, active on the weak side. It’s something we have to work on.”
The second half was a formality, as NSU raced ahead with an overwhelming run early on and never looked back. A 16-point halftime difference quickly fumbled into 22, and it didn’t end there. Northern State led by as many as 39 and ultimately handed BSU its worst conference loss since a 38-point defeat against Minnesota State Moorhead on Feb. 20, 2015.
“We’ve got to watch film, find some takeaways from it and use it in practice next week,” Chase said. “Then hopefully we translate that to the games. We can’t let this week’s performance affect us next week.”
For much of the first half, Bemidji State showed it could keep up. Derek Thompson and Tyler Behrendt hit back-to-back 3-pointers to hold the Beavers within 32-26 with under five minutes to go. But the Wolves scored the next 10 points -- including one of Parker Fox’s three emphatic two-handed dunks -- and quickly boasted a 45-29 lead heading into halftime.
NSU certainly didn’t let up out of the break. Their lead hit 20 within three minutes and 30 within 11 minutes.
“Coming out of halftime, the first five minutes are extremely crucial,” Chase said. “That’s what we talk about: We’ve got to make the first run. Tonight, we weren’t able to make the first run, and then after those first five minutes, the game was pretty far out of reach.”
Northern hit triple digits before it was mercifully all said and done, good for one more milestone in an impressive showing all weekend.
“When you’re playing against a really good team like that -- that doesn’t hurt themselves -- we can’t hurt ourselves to go along with it,” Boschee said. “In the second half, they were unconscious. They didn’t miss much. But our defense, it wasn’t as good as it needed to be, obviously. We need to look at what we’re doing there and figure some things out.”
Chase and Thompson had a dozen points each to share the team lead for BSU, while Mohamed Kone had 10 points and eight rebounds.
Fox finished with 24 points for NSU alongside 17 from Jordan Belka. The two combined to shoot 17-for-23 from the floor.
Bemidji State is scheduled to resume NSIC play when it travels to Minnesota State Moorhead Jan. 15-16. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday.
No. 7 Northern State 100, Bemidji State 63
NSU 45 55 -- 100
BSU 29 34 -- 63
NORTHERN STATE (4-0, 2-0 NSIC) -- Fox 24, Belka 17, Reede 15, Bergan 12, Robinson 6, Busch 5, Dominovic 5, Kallman 5, Stark 5, Chatman 4, Holt 2. Totals: 37-58 FGs, 13-20 FTs, 100.
BEMIDJI STATE (1-3, 0-2 NSIC) -- Chase 12, Thompson 12, Kone 10, Albrecht 7, Landwehr 6, Senske 4, Wagner 4, Behrendt 3, Casper 3, Olson 2, Kaufmanis 0, Olizia 0. Totals: 22-58 FGs, 11-16 FTs, 63.