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MEN’S BASKETBALL: Bemidji State drops 5th straight as Mustangs gallop away

The Bemidji State men’s basketball team was maybe sticking around just long enough to steal a road win. But then, in a flash, Southwest Minnesota State put an end to any thievery.

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Bemidji State Beavers
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MARSHALL -- The Bemidji State men’s basketball team was maybe sticking around just long enough to steal a road win.

But then, in a flash, Southwest Minnesota State put an end to any thievery.

The Mustangs broke free from a one-possession game with a 9-0 run midway through the second half, putting Saturday’s game to bed early in a 72-64 win over BSU in Marshall.

The loss makes it five in a row for the Beavers, who exit the weekend tied for last in the NSIC North Division. All five losses have been within eight points, and Bemidji State is now 0-8 in conference games decided by 10 points or fewer.

BSU (6-11, 3-10 NSIC) never led by more than three points, but the Beavers had a 14-11 lead off John Sutherland’s jumper early in the first half. SMSU (10-7, 6-6 NSIC) responded with a 7-0 run to retake the upperhand, but Gare Ewefada’s 3-pointer put Bemidji State back in front 24-23 in the seesaw first half.

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Southwest Minnesota State scored 11 of the next 14 points, but BSU still stuck within 34-30 by halftime.

After the intermission, the Beavers took their final lead at 38-37 behind John Sutherland’s dunk and a defense that only allowed three points in the opening 4:30. Bemidji State then weathered an 11-2 Mustang run and was within 48-45 with 10:42 to go, but SMSU rode off from that point on.

Southwest Minnesota State separated with its decisive 9-0 burst, and they kept BSU at an arm’s length the rest of the way. Ewefada’s last-second three brought the score within eight but was as close as it got ever again.

Ewefada and Mohamed Kone shared the team lead with 12 points apiece, while Tyler Behrendt chipped in 11. John Sutherland finished with nine points and 11 rebounds, as well.

Jake Phipps and Anthony Costello paced the Mustangs with 16 points each.

Bemidji State returns home to host Augustana at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28, as part of a four-game homestand at the BSU Gymnasium.

Southwest MN State 72, Bemidji State 64

BSU 30 34 -- 64

SMSU 34 38 -- 72

BEMIDJI STATE (6-11, 3-10 NSIC) -- Ewefada 12, Kone 12, Behrendt 11, Bianco 9, Sutherland 9, Thompson 9, Albrecht 2. Totals: 25-65 FGs, 7-24 3-pt. FGs, 7-13 FTs.

SOUTHWEST MN STATE (10-7, 6-6 NSIC) -- Costello 16, Phipps 16, Schwartz 11, Byers 8, McCray 8, Omot 8, Benson 5. Totals: 29-56 FGs, 8-20 3-pt. FGs, 6-8 FTs.

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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