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MEN’S BASKETBALL: Behrendt embracing final run as Beavers aim to right the ship

Tyler Behrendt didn’t even play basketball his freshman year of college. So to have an extra season is a blessing he’s embracing.

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Bemidji State senior Tyler Behrendt (12) is introduced as a starter prior to a Dec. 2, 2021, game against Minnesota Duluth at the BSU Gymnasium.
Micah Friez / Bemidji Pioneer
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BEMIDJI -- Tyler Behrendt didn’t even play basketball his freshman year of college. So to have an extra season is a blessing he’s embracing.

“It’s been a dream come true actually. After my senior year of high school basketball, I didn’t play college ball,” said the Bemidji State men’s basketball fifth-year senior. “I love it, and I’m embracing it. Despite (our record), it’s fun.”

That’s one area to improve if the Beavers want to send Behrendt out right. BSU has lost five in a row, many of which have been close losses with late leads slipping away. So the team is focused on cohesion in those critical late-game situations.

“One thing we’ve really focused on is being of the same mind at the end of the games,” Behrendt said. “Sometimes we can get discombobulated and we start doing wrong things. … But if everyone’s having the same mindset, I think we can go a long way.”

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Bemidji State senior Tyler Behrendt (12) looks to pass the ball in the first half against Concordia-St. Paul on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer

Bemidji State has lost each of the past five games by eight points or fewer. In four of those games, the score has been within one possession in the final minute of regulation.

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“Look at Upper Iowa… we should have had that one,” head coach Mike Boschee said. “Winona State, same thing: We should have had that one. Concordia-St. Paul, we found a way to lose that one. … We continue working really hard. We’ve just got to get out of our own way a little bit and see if we can’t put a full 40 minutes together.”

The Beavers now stand at 6-11 overall. Yet, despite a 3-10 conference record and a tie for last in the NSIC North Division, they’re still just two games behind St. Cloud State for the final playoff spot. That remains something BSU is clinging to with eight games to go.

“Trying to plug the positives as much as you can is important,” Boschee said. “You can get caught up in the wins and losses -- and that’s very important, as well -- but when you’re going through a little bit of what we’re going through, you’ve got to continue to grind and have a little bit of that hope.”

That mentality rings true for a senior like Behrendt, who transferred from UW-Milwaukee and is now in his second season with Bemidji State. No matter how things are trending now, he’s determined to right the ship before it’s too late.

“We haven’t pulled it together. I don’t know. We’ve been talking a lot this week about what we can do,” Behrendt said. “I think we’re getting somewhere. We just can’t give up. That’s been my mentality for every fourth quarter, no matter the score -- if we’re up 15 or down five, it’s next play.”

The Beavers return home this weekend to face Augustana at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28, and Wayne State at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29, both at the BSU Gymnasium.

According to Boschee, Behrendt will have a big say in how things turn out.

“When you put (Behrendt) on the court, you know what you’re going to get. There’s no trust issues with him at all,” Boschee said. “He’s going to give you everything he has. … Just an outstanding young man who does things the right way. He would love to add a little bit more success.”

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At the same time, Behrendt knows time is running short. So he’s all in.

“If we’re going to make a push, this is our stand,” he said. “So we’re definitely ready.”

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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