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MEN’S BASKETBALL: Beavers lose another tight game as Thompson hits rebound milestone

BSU is now 1-7 this season in games decided by 10 points or fewer -- including qualifying losses in each of the past four games -- with the lone win coming in nonconference play.

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Bemidji State Beavers
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Friday night’s finish was like a recurring nightmare for the Bemidji State men’s basketball team.

The Beavers slipped up late in a road game at Sioux Falls, falling 72-65 in another one that was right there for the taking.

BSU is now 1-7 this season in games decided by 10 points or fewer -- including qualifying losses in each of the past four games -- with the lone win coming in nonconference play.

The culprit on Friday was USF’s backbreaking 7-0 run inside the final two minutes. That turned a 63-63 tie into a 70-63 game with all but 17 seconds of clock burned up. And no points were more costly than Jack Thompson’s backwards circus layup plus the foul, cashing in for a five-point lead with 37 seconds to go.

That late rally came on the heels of a separate 15-1 Cougar run, which helped erase Bemidji State’s 14-point lead with 13 minutes to go. Sioux Falls outscored the Beavers 33-12 from that point on.

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Despite the sour finish, Derek Thompson still continued his rise through the BSU record books. Thompson hauled in four rebounds, his last being the 639th of his career. That moves him into a tie with Scott Kramer for third all-time in program history, and now only Mac Smith (654) and Steve Vogel (694) have more.

Bemidji State’s cold finish also contrasted a hot start. The Beavers (6-10, 3-9 NSIC) jumped ahead 7-0 and later 17-9, but USF (9-7, 5-5 NSIC) came right back within a point at 19-18. The first half was tight from then on out, ultimately ending 32-31 in the Cougars’ favor.

The outcome appeared to be coming into focus early in the second half, as BSU shot ahead with an authoritative 15-0 run. John Sutherland had seven points in the span, including an and-one post move to cap it, powering Bemidji State in front 46-34.

The lead inched forward to 53-39 with 12:52 to go, but the Cougars soon scored 11 straight as part of an extended 20-4 run in eight minutes’ time.

The game tightened up from then on out, but the Beavers couldn’t deliver the game-winning plays down the stretch to avoid an all too familiar loss.

Mohamed Kone finished with 21 points and seven assists, while Sutherland had 15 points and Travis Bianco 13.

Matt Cartwright paced a pack of four Sioux Falls scorers in double-digits with 18 points of his own.

BSU is back in action at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22, against Southwest Minnesota State in Marshall.

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Sioux Falls 72, Bemidji State 65

BSU 31 34 -- 65

USF 32 40 -- 72

BEMIDJI STATE (6-10, 3-9 NSIC) -- Kone 21, Sutherland 15, Bianco 13, Albrecht 6, Thompson 4, Behrendt 3, Lowman 2, Ewefada 1. Totals: 28-58 FGs, 6-25 3-pt. FGs, 3-6 FTs.

SIOUX FALLS (9-7,5-5 NSIC) -- Cartwright 18, Johnson 12, Grinde 10, Puetz 10, J. Thompson 9, Kettner 5, Slater 4, Coudreau 2, Healy 2. Totals: 25-65 FGs, 7-24 3-pt. FGs, 15-15 FTs.

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