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MEN’S BASKETBALL: Beavers call on true freshman Jayce Lowman for important role

In mid-December, the Bemidji State men’s basketball freshman played U-Mary in Bismarck, N.D. -- just a stone’s throw from his hometown of Mandan. And he was ready for the moment.

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Bemidji State freshman Jayce Lowman dribbes the ball during a game against Minnesota Crookston on Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
BSU photo
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BEMIDJI -- When the Bemidji State men’s basketball team hit the road, Jayce Lowman still had a home-court advantage of sorts.

In mid-December, the Bemidji State men’s basketball freshman played U-Mary in Bismarck, N.D. -- just a stone’s throw from his hometown of Mandan. And he was ready for the moment.

“Before that game, the whole week the players were saying, ‘Be ready this game,’” Lowman said. “And then right before the game, (head coach Mike) Boschee came up to me and was like, ‘Yeah, be ready to get in.’ That gave me a lot of confidence.”

Lowman played 16 minutes that night -- more than he had in the team’s first nine games combined. It was also the start of Lowman’s skyrocketing minutes within his newfound integral role.

“Spacing is very important for any offense, and he can provide that,” Boschee said. “What the other teams do is they suck up to him. … It creates space for our big guys, it creates space for penetration from other perimeter players. And we needed that.”

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Lowman is 10-for-27 from 3-point range so far this season, providing the Beavers a long-range weapon off the bench. Yet he’s somewhat of an unlikely source because significant minutes are hard to come by for true freshmen in BSU’s program.

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Bemidji State freshman Jayce Lowman dribbes the ball during a game against Minnesota Crookston on Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
BSU photo

“I came in not expecting to play at all,” Lowman said. “I came in expecting maybe to redshirt or something. But (the coaches) said I could maybe find time by being one of our better shooters. … That’s what I’m in there to do.”

Lowman recorded early career highs with 28 minutes and 11 points in Bemidji State’s overtime loss at Concordia-St. Paul on Jan. 15 . He played all but five seconds of the final 17:33.

“Most freshmen don’t have the ability to step on the college court and be able to contribute,” Boschee said. “But he just kept on getting better from day one. He’s very intelligent, has a high basketball IQ. … I think he could be a pretty special player because of his shooting ability and his mind.”

Lowman also recognizes where he needs to improve. He knows his defense isn’t yet up to par and the game itself is certainly faster than the high school version, but he’s controlling the transition as best he can.

“I’m definitely slowing down the pace of the game,” he said. “It’s a lot faster, but if you get too fast, you get nervous and out of control. But if you just slow it down and take your time off the screens and stuff, it makes it a lot easier.”

“A weakness of his was his defense, and it’s still not where you want it to be, but it just kept getting better and better,” Boschee added. “He’s always in the right spots. He understands the concepts and the coverages that we have. He can make plays. He’s just talented.”

Lowman will have another chance to prove himself this weekend. The Beavers (6-9, 3-8 NSIC) wrap up a four-game road trip with visits to Sioux Falls (8-7, 4-5 NSIC) and Southwest Minnesota State (9-6, 5-5 NSIC).

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The series begins against the Cougars at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 21, in Sioux Falls, S.D., and closes against the Mustangs at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 22, in Marshall.

And if Lowman has anything to say about it, his role will continue to gain momentum. He’s certainly come a long way from the beginning stages of the season.

“It started in practice,” he said. “Every day, I’m on the scout team and we play against the older guys. One day, they just said, ‘Be ready to play.’ It started with that.”

Micah Friez is the sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he joined the Pioneer in 2015 and is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing. Follow him on Twitter at @micahfriez for Lumberjack and Beaver updates.
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