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Bemidji State men's basketball faces St. Cloud in opener

A long road trip to a place in a different time zone, a noon start local time and thin air are all reasons why the Bemidji State men's basketball team could struggle today in the NCAA II Central Region quarterfinals against St. Cloud State in Gol...

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Lance Rongstad, right, and Bemidji State will play St. Cloud today in the NCAA II Central Region quarterfinals. MONTE DRAPER | PIONEER PHOTO

A long road trip to a place in a different time zone, a noon start local time and thin air are all reasons why the Bemidji State men's basketball team could struggle today in the NCAA II Central Region quarterfinals against St. Cloud State in Golden, Colo.

The excitement of playing in the national tournament against a familiar foe, however, should counter any potential negatives.

"We're having fun," said BSU guard Dermaine Crockrell. "Most teams are having their banquets already but we're still playing basketball."

The Beavers have compiled a 22-8 record and earned the third seed in the region tournament. St. Cloud is 19-8 and is ranked sixth among the event's eight teams.

Bemidji State and the Huskies tangle at 1 p.m. CST in the region opener. The winner will advance to Sunday's semifinals and a 6 p.m. contest against the winner of today's game between No. 2 Metro State and No. 7 Adams State.

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Today's late games find top-ranked Colorado Mines against No. 8 Augustana and fourth-ranked Southwest Minnesota State against No. 5 MSU Moorhead.

Those winners will clash 8:30 p.m. Sunday.

The tournament title game will be 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.

During the regular season St. Cloud edged the Beavers 72-70 when Shaun Jensen hit a jumper in the final seconds. The previous season in St. Cloud BSU lost in overtime.

Bemidji State enters today's game on a roll, winning seven of its last nine games. St. Cloud has dropped three in a row and four of its last five.

BSU coach Matt Bowen, however, is expecting to see the Huskies team that defeated the Beavers in mid-January rather than the one that has lost three straight games.

"St. Cloud plays a style similar to ours," Bowen said. "We know they will be well prepared and that we'll be playing against a physical team.

"St. Cloud was beat up toward the end of the year but going into (today's) game they will have had two weeks to prepare. And I know they will be ready to go."

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NCAA II Central Region

Golden, Colo.

(All times CST)

Saturday's Quarterfinals

Game 1: BSU (No. 3) vs. St. Cloud (No. 6), 1 p.m.

Game 2: Metro State (No. 2) vs. Adams State (No. 7), 3:30 p.m.

Game 3: Colorado Mines (No. 1) vs. Augustana (No. 8), 7 p.m.

Game 4: SMSU (No. 4) vs. MSU Moorhead (No. 5), 9:30 p.m.

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Sunday's Semifinals

Game 5: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 6 p.m.

Game 6: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 8:30 p.m.

Tuesday's Final

Game 7: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 8:30 p.m.

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It was another perfect Sunday with clear skies and comfortable temperatures on Garfield Lake. Thirty-three racers and crews filled the pits, and the oval track was surrounded by hundreds of fans.
The following is a letter to the editor submitted by a reader and does not reflect the views of the Pioneer. Letters can be sent to letters@bemidjipioneer.com or P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.
The following is a letter to the editor submitted by a reader and does not reflect the views of the Pioneer. Letters can be sent to letters@bemidjipioneer.com or P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.
The following is a letter to the editor submitted by a reader and does not reflect the views of the Pioneer. Letters can be sent to letters@bemidjipioneer.com or P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.