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MEN’S BASKETBALL: Bemidji State misses upset bid in 77-66 loss

BEMIDJI -- A big deficit was all but gone for the Bemidji State men's basketball team on Saturday. The Beavers just couldn't quite finish off the comeback.

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Bemidji State junior Ja Morgan (3) converts on an and-one basket in the first half of Saturday's loss at the BSU Gymnasium. (Micah Friez | Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- A big deficit was all but gone for the Bemidji State men’s basketball team on Saturday. The Beavers just couldn’t quite finish off the comeback.

“We just didn’t have enough -- either defensively to get the stop that we really needed to, or offensively to get the really good look that we needed -- to get over the hump,” BSU head coach Mike Boschee said. “It was a lot of toughness to get back into the game and make it a game. Unfortunately, (the deficit) was just a little bit too much.”

Bemidji State almost returned from 16 down against Minnesota State, but the resurgence fell short in a 77-66 loss at the BSU Gymnasium.

“They got a good lead on us, but we didn’t quit,” junior Ja Morgan said. “We tried to get stops, but we just couldn’t get enough. … Just a couple plays where they got offensive boards, a couple shots they hit that gave them momentum. We had to get key stops, that was it.”

In the first half, the Mavericks (16-8, 12-6 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) claimed the lead with a 9-0 run early, then seized control with an 11-0 run late. Bemidji State (8-14, 5-13 NSIC) trailed 39-23 in the final minute of the frame, which became 39-26 at halftime following a late Jacob Hoffman 3-pointer.

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Hoffman’s score marked the start of a turnaround for BSU. Morgan got the crowd into it with a three that had the Beavers within six at 45-39. Soon after, Morgan used a Cody Landwehr screen and found him on the roll for a bucket in the paint, bringing Bemidji State within 49-45 with 11 minutes to play.

But that was the end of that.

MSU scored 13 of the next 16 points to regain command at 62-48. To end it, Jamal Nixon sucked the life out of the gym with a three, and Juwan McCloud followed with a runner in the lane for 8-0 spurt with six minutes to play.

The Beavers didn’t break back within single digits until Derek Thompson made a layup with 1 minute, 45 seconds to go, and the game was still out of reach from then on in the 11-point loss.

“It’s a little frustrating because you can see some of the mistakes that we make or some of the plays that we missed, which could get you over the hump,” Boschee said.

The loss made Bemidji State miss out on a weekend sweep, which was their fourth unsuccessful attempt in a row after winning in each of the past four Fridays.

“It’s hard not to be disappointed,” Boschee said. “I liked how we played last night, but after a loss, whatever that feeling is like, it’s not usually a positive one.

“So we have to reevaluate what we’re doing and try to figure out ways to help them be a little bit better. I do feel like we are getting better, though, on both ends of the court. We’re just not there yet.”

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Morgan finished with 22 points, seven rebounds and six assists. He’s up to 143 dimes on the year, which lifts him up to No. 5 all-time in Bemidji State single-season history. He was joined in the scoring column by Hoffman (12), Thompson (12) and Logan Bader (10).

Next up for the Beavers is a 7:30 p.m. meeting with U-Mary at the BSU Gymnasium, which kicks off Bemidji State’s final weekend at home for the season.

Minnesota State 77, Bemidji State 66

MSU 39 38 -- 77

BSU 26 40 -- 66

MINNESOTA STATE (16-8, 12-6 NSIC) -- Kirksey 15, Krieger 14, C. Anderson 13, Asche 9, McCloud 9, Nixon 8, Arrenholz 6, Q. Anderson 3, Guse 0, Mack 0. Totals 27-60, 15-22, 77.

BEMIDJI STATE (8-14, 5-13 NSIC) -- Morgan 22, Hoffman 12, Thompson 12, Bader 10, Anderson 5, Chase 2, Landwehr 2, Baumgartner 1, Longo 0. Totals 24-62, 7-10, 66.

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Bemidji State junior Allen Anderson (12) pulls up for a 3-pointer in the first half of Saturday's loss at the BSU Gymnasium. (Micah Friez | Bemidji Pioneer)

Related Topics: BEMIDJI STATE UNIVERSITY
Micah Friez is the former sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he worked at the Pioneer from 2015-23 and is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing.
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The following is a letter to the editor submitted by a reader and does not reflect the views of the Pioneer. Letters can be sent to letters@bemidjipioneer.com or P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.
The following is a letter to the editor submitted by a reader and does not reflect the views of the Pioneer. Letters can be sent to letters@bemidjipioneer.com or P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.
The following is a letter to the editor submitted by a reader and does not reflect the views of the Pioneer. Letters can be sent to letters@bemidjipioneer.com or P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.