MEN’S BASKETBALL: Starters surge in 73-63 BSU win

BEMIDJI -- It was double-digits or bust for the Bemidji State men's basketball team on Friday night, as the five Beaver starters combined for all 73 points in BSU's 73-63 win over Minnesota Duluth.

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Bemidji State Beavers

BEMIDJI -- It was double-digits or bust for the Bemidji State men’s basketball team on Friday night, as the five Beaver starters combined for all 73 points in BSU’s 73-63 win over Minnesota Duluth.

“It’s nice when you don’t have to look for one player to score at the basket the whole time,” sophomore Logan Bader said. “You can dish the ball around, move the ball, get open shots. It’s a lot easier that way.”

Bemidji State had Sharif Black (16 points), Christian Pekarek (16), Lucas Wendt (16), Bader (13) and Jai’Vionne Green (12) in double figures on the night, allowing for a lead nearly coast-to-coast en route to the steady win over the Bulldogs.

“It was really nice to see. We’ve been a team that plays in gaps -- and I’m talking bad gaps. We either go on a run offensively where we don’t score, or we go on a defensive one where we’re letting them score all the time,” BSU head coach Mike Boschee said. “I thought tonight, we played pretty consistently on both ends of the court where we didn’t have those letdowns offensively or defensively.”

The biggest spurt came early on, as Green rattled off seven points as part of a 9-0 run in the opening minutes for a 9-4 lead. After UMD (2-3, 0-1 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) knotted the score at 18-all, the Beavers (4-3, 1-1 NSIC) worked their advantage back up to six at 29-23 by halftime.


A corner three from Bader stretched the difference to 10 at 41-31 four minutes into the second half. And, once the Bulldogs trimmed the lead to three, Bemidji State again kept control, using an 8-0 run to re-hit a double-digit spread. Green capped it with a transition three, making for a 54-43 game.

Soon after, a no-look assist from Black through a tight window found Bader on the block, which stretched the lead to 14 after the easy bunny. It was smooth sailing from there, and Bemidji State handled the pressure to come away with a 73-63 win by night’s end.

“It was great. It was a big bounce-back game from last weekend,” Bader said. “I thought the team came out hard the first five minutes, then battled the whole way through.”

In addition to his 16 points, Black also racked up seven rebounds and five assists. Pekarek nearly matched it with a 16/7/4 line, while Bader grabbed eight boards, Wendt seven and Green six.

“We showed our potential. The hardest thing to do is to play well every night… and that’s our challenge,” Boschee said. “You have to be ready to go, locked in on every possession, and I thought we did a good job.”

For Minnesota Duluth, Logan Rohrscheib tallied 18 points to go along with Brandon Myer’s 16, but UMD shot just 22-for-71 from the field and 2-for-25 from three.

“You have to have that internal determination inside you, no matter where you’re at, to bring it,” Boschee said. “We played with a pretty good edge tonight. We needed it.”

The Beavers will be back at the BSU Gymnasium to battle St. Cloud State at 6 tonight in hopes of picking up a sweep on the weekend.

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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