ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

MEN’S BASKETBALL: Derek Thompson, Beavers go out on exciting OT win

The Beavers finished the regular season on a 92-89 overtime victory against St. Cloud State at the BSU Gymnasium. Already eliminated from playoff contention in a season to forget, Saturday’s finale was a game to remember.

022322.S.BP.BSUMBB Derek Thompson2.jpg
Bemidji State senior Derek Thompson (5) celebrates with Gare Ewefada (1) and Mohamed Kone (3) in the first half against St. Cloud State on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer
We are part of The Trust Project.

BEMIDJI -- It was a game embedded with more nostalgia than intensity, with more fun than frustrations.

As it should be for the Bemidji State men’s basketball team.

“It feels really good. The first half was a little goofy, but in the second half, we wanted to win,” head coach Mike Boschee said. “We needed to win that one to end the year, and fortunately we were able to get it done.”

The Beavers finished the regular season on a 92-89 overtime victory against St. Cloud State at the BSU Gymnasium. Already eliminated from playoff contention in a season to forget, Saturday’s finale was a game to remember.

“I was just trying to be in the moment, you know? Enjoy every single second,” senior forward Derek Thompson said. “Honestly, it’s just looking around and realizing how blessed I am, appreciating how much God has given me over the past five years.”

ADVERTISEMENT

022322.S.BP.BSUMBB Bench.jpg
The Bemidji State bench cheers during the first half against St. Cloud State on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer

Bemidji State played loose and let it fly. Alley-oop lobs, 3-pointers from way downtown and exuberant celebrations all signaled that this was a team with nothing to lose, one that wanted nothing more than to cherish the moment before it was over.

“It felt a little bit different, even going back to practice yesterday,” Boschee said. “Guys wanted to have a little bit more fun. … But the focus came back in the second half a little bit. We wanted to win the game.”

That they did. After an 80-80 tie through 40 minutes, why not extend the season by playing five more?

The Beavers won it with an 8-0 run in overtime, punctuated by a Mohamed Kone 3-pointer just after Thompson drew a charge with chants of “Defense! Defense!” filling the house. After his play, Thompson raised his fist, let out a shout and went out on a high.

Thompson had 12 points and a career-high 15 rebounds on Saturday. He exits as the program’s all-time leader in rebounds (723) and leaves third in points (1,558). Nobody has worn a BSU jersey in more games (124), nor has anyone started in more (114, all consecutive).

Thompson also set Bemidji State’s single-game scoring record with 45 points in last year’s season finale , proof that he likes to go out with a bang.

022322.S.BP.BSUMBB Derek Thompson.jpg
Bemidji State senior Derek Thompson (5) scores in the first half against St. Cloud State on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer

“All I can think of is ‘blessed’ right now,” he said. “All the accomplishments I’ve been able to have, the amazing teammates and coaches, I’m just so blessed.”

Thompson’s size 13 shoes will be no small task to replace next season, and his impact on the record book will last much longer than that.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It’ll be a different look not seeing him in that corner of the locker room, in his normal perch,” Boschee said. “He’s worked hard his entire career. People don’t realize how many hours he comes in outside of practice, at 6 a.m. or late at night, to improve his skills. … Just an all-around class act.”

As for Saturday, the Beavers could do no wrong early on. They led 26-11 thanks to an energetic 11-0 run, but SCSU rallied to hold a 41-37 halftime edge with an 18-4 finish.

022322.S.BP.BSUMBB Tyler Behrendt.jpg
Bemidji State senior Tyler Behrendt (12) passes the ball in the first half against St. Cloud State on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer

Midway through the second half, BSU reeled off another 12-0 burst behind fellow seniors Travis Bianco and Tyler Behrendt, assuming a 65-58 lead with nine minutes left.

The Huskies came back -- ultimately all the way to an 80-80 tie that forced overtime -- but nobody was denying Bemidji State in the end. The victory may not have altered the standings, but it darn sure meant more than most wins.

“We wanted to end the season on the right note, send the seniors off on a positive,” Boschee said. “We were able to do that fortunately.”

It was a bit sloppy at times, and not always the most structured, but it was exactly what the Beavers needed.

“We were too loose at the end of the first half there,” Thompson said. “We all started to do our own thing just because it was the last game, but in the second half, we did a good job of coming together, doing the right things and getting a win in the end.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Bemidji State 92, St. Cloud State 89 (OT)

SCSU 41 39 9 -- 89

BSU 37 43 12 -- 92

ST. CLOUD STATE (10-17, 6-13 NSIC) -- Roberts 36, Donaldson 18, Bagley 12, Taylor 8, Alexander 6, Willert 6, Mutimer 3. Totals: 29-70 FGs, 11-35 3-pt. FGs, 20-24 FTs.

BEMIDJI STATE (8-17, 5-16 NSIC) -- Bianco 27, Behrendt 15, Thompson 12, Kone 10, Albrecht 9, Landwehr 8, Sutherland 8, Ewefada 3. Totals: 38-74 FGs, 7-27 3-pt. FGs, 9-14 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.
What to read next
Bemidji State softball head coach Jordan Petersen dipped into the transfer portal for a pair of pitchers, and she announced the signing of Natalie Contreras and Abby Kessel on Wednesday.
Britt Lauritsen was introduced as the university’s director of athletics on Tuesday in a reception met with a hearty crowd and an air of excitement. Plenty of the enthusiasm originated from the podium, where Lauritsen stood to emphasize a people-driven approach in pursuit of athletic success.
Tracy Dill didn’t stay retired for long.
Beyond the givens of brutal weather and earlier start times that await UCLA and USC upon their 2024 defection to the Big Ten, scores of questions remain. Here are some answers more than two years before the move.