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MEN’S BASKETBALL: Bemidji State rolls for 66-56 playoff upset

MANKATO -- The Bemidji State men's basketball team didn't play like a No. 8 seed on Wednesday. The Beavers walked into Mankato to play top-seeded Minnesota State in the opening round of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Tournament, and ...

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Bemidji State Beavers

MANKATO -- The Bemidji State men’s basketball team didn’t play like a No. 8 seed on Wednesday.

The Beavers walked into Mankato to play top-seeded Minnesota State in the opening round of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Tournament, and they walked out as 66-56 winners in a near wire-to-wire victory.

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Ja Morgan

BSU (10-17) got up 11-6 in the early goings after a Logan Bader 3-pointer, but MSU (18-11) eventually worked back into a tie at 24-all late in the half.

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Bemidji State roared back, however, storming away with a 15-2 run to close the opening frame. The first nine points came in succession through a combined effort from Cody Landwehr, Ja Morgan and Derek Thompson.

The Mavericks stopped the bleeding with a layup, but Morgan added two more buckets before a Thompson layup, giving BSU a 39-26 advantage at the break.

And in the second half, the Beavers never folded.

Minnesota State came within six on a Quincy Anderson and-one layup with 7 minutes, 38 seconds remaining, but BSU grew the lead back out to 60-49 on a Morgan jumper with four minutes to go.

MSU was within seven once more, this time at 60-53 with 1:11 left on the clock, but the Beavers used the charity stripe from there to ice away the 10-point win.

Morgan finished with 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists to guide Bemidji State, while Landwehr added 16 points and 13 rebounds -- his third straight double-double and fourth in the past five games. Thompson also hit double-digits with 11 points of his own.

BSU advances to the conference quarterfinals for the first time since the 2012-13 season, where the Beavers will play Southwest Minnesota State at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.

No. 8 Bemidji State 66, No. 1 Minnesota State 56
BSU 39 27 -- 66
MSU 26 39 -- 56
BEMIDJI STATE (10-17) -- Morgan 22, Landwehr 16, Thompson 11, Hoffman 8, Bader 7, Chase 2, Anderson 0, Longo 0, McNallan 0. Totals 22-52, 15-18, 66.
MINNESOTA STATE (18-11) -- C. Anderson 12, Baumgardner 10, Kirksey 8, Q. Anderson 6, Arrenholz 5, Krieger 5, McCloud 5, Asche 3, Nixon 2. Totals 20-64, 11-17, 56.

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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