This Week: The Bemidji State University men’s basketball team is in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference road action for the first time this season, traveling to Northern State University and University of Mary Dec. 17-18. Both games begin at 8 p.m. Saturday’s game will air live on Midco Sports Network.
About Bemidji State: The Beavers are 4-4 overall and 1-3 in NSIC play after suffering two conference home losses at the hands of No. 3 Winona State University Dec. 10 and Upper Iowa University Dec. 11. BSU hung with the Warriors for most of the game, but ended up losing 71-62. The following night, the Beavers held a lead for most of the game against the Peacocks, but a 12-3 run by UIU gave the road team an 71-63 advantage with 4:02 left in regulation. The Peacocks wouldn’t lose the lead the rest of the way, knocking down back-to-back 3-pointers in the final 1:04 to break a tie and pull away for the 83-80 victory.
• BSU’s 83.4 free throw percentage is No. 1 in NCAA Division II.
• James Ellisor is averaging a team-best 18.3 points per game, adding a team-high 7.3 rebounds per contest and is shooting 58.9% from the floor.
• Senior Patrick Cassidy is averaging 13.3 points per game, entering the season he had a career average of 7.1 ppg. He is shooting 61.3%, 13 percent higher than his career average.
• In three games between Dec. 3-10, sophomore Mason Walters averaged 15.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, making seven 3’s.
Live stats at NSU: http://www3.northern.edu/athletics/livestats/mbb/xlive.htm
Live stats at U-Mary: http://www.umary.edu/sports/LiveStats.php?team=basketball_men
Live on Midco Sports Net (Saturday): Channel 28 in Bemidji
Watch all home and NSIC games on the web live and for free on New Media TV: www.pennatlantic.com
About Northern State: The Wolves are 5-3 overall and 1-3 in NSIC play to sit in a tie for 11th with BSU and U-Mary. Last weekend NSU fell to Wayne State College 79-60 and Augustana College 90-85 on the road and are currently on a three-game losing streak. Sophomore Collin Pryor is leading the Wolves with 16.5 points per game, adding a team-high 9.6 rebounds per game. Sophomore Dustin Tetzlaff is scoring 12.5 points per game off the bench for NSU. The Wolves are coached by first year head coach Paul Sather.
Series History: The Beavers are 22-51 all-time against NSU and are 1-4 in the last five meetings. The teams have had some battles during BSU head coach Matt Bowen’s tenure. Last season a last second shot was the difference in a 67-65 loss to NSU at the BSU Gymnasium. In the 2008-09 season, the last time in Aberdeen, the Beavers stunned the then-No. 11 ranked Wolves 100-93 in double overtime. Earlier that season in the Holiday Hoops Fest the Beavers lost 73-70 on a last second 3-pointer.
About U-Mary: The Marauders are 5-3 overall and 1-3 in conference play to sit tied for 11th with BSU and NSU. U-Mary is on a three-game losing streak after beating St. Cloud State at home 84-81 in overtime. The Marauders followed the win with a 70-67 loss to Concordia University, St. Paul at home and then losses on the road to Augustana 68-55 and Wayne State 66-55. Senior Anthony Moody is leading the team in scoring at a 17.8 per game clip, while leading the conference in minutes played (38.2 minpg). Senior Eric Erdmann is averaging 15.1 points and a team-best 6.8 rebounds per game.
Series History: U-Mary owns the all-time record against Bemidji State 7-2. The Marauders are 4-1 in the last five contests, but the Beavers got the best of them last season at the BSU Gymnasium 81-59. The last time in Bismarck (Jan. 17, 2009) BSU fell 80-76, blowing a 20 point lead with just under 15 minutes to play in regulation.
NSIC Preseason Poll: The Bemidji State University men’s basketball team finished last season winners in five of its last six games, en route to a 12-15 overall and 8-12 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference mark, good for 11th place in the final conference standings. The 12 wins was the most under fifth-year head coach Matt Bowen, as BSU has increased its win total in each of his seasons at the helm. On Oct. 20, the 2010-11 edition of the NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll was released, slotting the Beavers 10th with 64 points.
BSU’s NSIC Preseason Player to Watch: Patrick Cassidy is the lone senior on a team that sports four juniors (two transfers), eight sophomores and four freshmen. He will be asked to provide leadership on and off the court in 2010-11, while concentrating on being consistent offensively and defensively. Last season Cassidy played and started in 26 games, averaging 26.3 minutes per contest. He posted 8.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, while shooting 51.2 percent from the field. Cassidy has endured the growing pains of a Bemidji State basketball program that has improved its record in each of the last four seasons, going 12-15 last season. He has played in 80 games in the green in white, averaging 7.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per game, while shooting 48.1 percent from the field.
Making Strides: Head coach Matt Bowen has increased BSU’s win total every season over his past four years. The Beavers won five games in his first campaign, six in his second, eight in 2008-09 and 12 last season. In 2009-10, the eight NSIC victories the Beavers totalled was the most conference wins under Bowen.
Welcome to BSU: The Beavers welcome six newcomers to the squad this season, including two junior college transfers. Coming to Bemidji via Glendale Community College are James Ellisor and Ryan Kinnell. Four true freshmen join the squad from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Alaska in Zach Noreen (Albany HS, Minn.), Maxie Rosenbloom (Johnson HS, Minn.), Jake Schalow (Kaukauna HS, Wis.) and Jeff Whicker (King HS, Alaska).
In his first eight games as a Beaver, Ellisor is leading the team in scoring with 18.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in 32.6 minutes, while shooting 58.9 percent from the field and going 31-for-35 from the charity stripe. He scored 25 points in the opener, adding a team-high six rebounds.
900 Program Wins: In a 88-63 victory against Minnesota, Crookston at the BSU Gymnasium Dec. 4 the Beavers recorded their 900th program win.
Doubling-Up: In the win against Finlandia, junior Bryce Tesdahl recorded his second-career double-double with a team-high 25 points and 10 assists. The 10 assists marks his third-career game with 10 or more helpers and ranks tied for ninth on the BSU single-game chart.
Ellisor followed-up against UW-Stout Nov. 23 with his first double-double as a Beaver, scoring 13 points and adding 11 rebounds. His second double-double came in an 83-80 loss to Upper Iowa Dec. 11, scoring 21 points and adding 11 rebounds.
Helping Hand: Last season Tesdahl finished second in the NSIC in assists, averaging 15.1 assists per game. He totaled 137 assists in the season, finishing third on BSU’s all-time single-season chart. This season he leads the league in assists and currently, his 270 career assists ranks 3rd on BSU’s career list (1976-present).
BSU’s Top Career Assist Totals (1976-Present)
# Assists Player Seasons
1. 314 David Lee 1984-88
2. 302 James Roberson 2003-05
3. 270 Bryce Tesdahl 2008-SA
Thanks for the Charity: The Beavers are the No. 1 team in the Division II nation in free throw percentage, shooting 88.4 percent from the charity stripe. James Ellisor’s 88.6 percent guides the team and is 44th in the nation. Bryce Tesdahl’s 87.2 percent from the line ranks 61st.