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MEN’S BASKETBALL: Twin bigs Albrecht, Sutherland power Beavers over Minnesota Morris

When a squad has two big men as versatile as Dalton Albrecht and John Sutherland, it’s a tall order to defend them.

112322.S.BP.BSUMBB Dalton Albrecht.jpg
Bemidji State junior Dalton Albrecht (0) finishes through the foul for an and-one during the second half against Minnesota Morris on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer
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BEMIDJI – Playing two sizable forwards simultaneously is nearly extinct in basketball today.

The game is often defined by pace and space, with four or even five smaller players circling the perimeter and hunting shots from distance. But when a squad has two bigs as versatile as Dalton Albrecht and John Sutherland, it’s a tall order to defend them.

The Bemidji State men’s basketball team took advantage of its skilled big men on Friday at the BSU Gymnasium, as Sutherland and Albrecht combined for 48 points to power the Beavers past Minnesota Morris 99-83.

“It's a huge thing for us,” BSU assistant coach Alex Fodness said. “Credit to Dalton and John, those guys have been putting in a lot of work. Dalton's gotten a lot better and a lot more confident down on the block. John's always really good offensive rebounding, and his activity down there is always through the roof. He does a great job of getting us second chances.

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Bemidji State junior John Sutherland (23) drives past a defender during the second half against Minnesota Morris on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

“Having those two guys, some nights when you can't make shots, you can go throw it up and hopefully they can go play volleyball on the glass and get you some extra ones. … Sometimes, that’s our best offense.”

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Bemidji State was firing efficiently on nearly every offensive cylinder Friday night. The Beavers shot 46.2% on 3-pointers and 55.4% from the floor. The only thing that stopped them from scoring even more was turnovers, of which they had 15.

“We were shooting it really well tonight,” Fodness said. “We got really good looks, but we need to clean up turnovers and some careless mistakes offensively. Against teams like that, if we're just patient with the ball and deliberate, we can pretty much get any shot we want. That reflected on the scoreboard, but (there were) certainly more points out there to be had with a little bit better execution.”

After trading baskets with the Cougars in the early going, BSU established a double-digit lead of 29-18 with an Albrecht jumper and carried that advantage through most of the contest. Bemidji State was rarely in jeopardy of letting Minnesota Morris back in the game – a fact that encouraged Fodness.

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Bemidji State sophomore Brandon Christlieb (11) pulls up for a jump shot during the second half against Minnesota Morris on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

“It's good when you have a lead to be able to sustain the lead,” Fodness said. “That's important, especially against teams from Division III or a lower level – you want to be able to exert your will a little bit. So definitely good to see. But we're a work in progress here. We’ve got a long ways to go.”

The Beavers improved to 4-1 with the victory, their second home triumph in two days. There have been plenty of glimpses of BSU’s strengths, but the amount it can leverage them will determine how often those assets translate into wins moving forward.

“We've got some capable shooters in the gym, ” Fodness said. ”When we get into conference play, that's going to be a big thing for us, (being) able to knock down open shots. So being able to do that any night is good. But there's stuff that we think we can still be even better at, and thankfully it's early, so we can continue to do that.”

In addition to the twin towers of Sutherland (26 points) and Albrecht (22), Brandon Christlieb (15) and Jayce Lowman (12) also scored in double figures for Bemidji State.

The Beavers continue their homestand with their NSIC opener against Minnesota Crookston at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 22, at the BSU Gymnasium.

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Bemidji State 99, Minnesota Morris 83 

UMM 42 41 -- 83

BSU 54 45 -- 99

MINNESOTA MORRIS -- Munson 21, Johnson 16, Iyob 8, Dak 7, Kujava 7, Brooks 5, Carlin 4, Gunderson 4, Placide 4, Alexander 3, Behning 2, Staples-Fairbanks 2. Totals: 31-65 FGs, 10-21 3-pt. FGs, 11-16 FTs.

BEMIDJI STATE -- Sutherland 26, Albrecht 22, Christlieb 15, Lowman 12, Kone 9, Olson 6, Williams 6, Dearring 3. Totals: 36-65 FGs, 12-26 3-pt. FGs, 15-18 FTs.

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Minnesota Morris freshman and Cass Lake-Bena graduate LeRoy Staples-Fairbanks (22) boxes out during the second half against Bemidji State on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer
112322.S.BP.BSUMBB Mohamed Kone.jpg
Bemidji State fifth-year Mohamed Kone (3) lays in the ball during the second half against Minnesota Morris on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer
112322.S.BP.BSUMBB Jalen Dearring.jpg
Bemidji State sophomore Jalen Dearring (12) shoots the ball during the second half against Minnesota Morris on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer
112322.S.BP.BSUMBB head coach Mike Boschee.jpg
Bemidji State head coach Mike Boschee talks with the team during a timeout in the second half against Minnesota Morris on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

Christian Babcock is a sports reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer. He trekked to Bemidji from his hometown of Campbell, Calif., after graduating from the Cronkite School at Arizona State University in 2021. Follow him on Twitter at @CB_Journalist for updates on the Lumberjacks and Beavers or to suggest your favorite local restaurant.
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