Friday, December 17, 2010

Second half free throws carry Beavers to 92-86 squeaker

ABERDEEN, S.D. – The visiting Bemidji State University Beavers came into Northern State's Wachs Arena and survived a physical altercation that featured 58 fouls and 88 free throw attempts to take home a 92-86 win over the Wolves Friday evening in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference men's basketball action.

The loss marks the fourth straight for NSU, which opened the season on a 5-0 tear.  The Wolves slipped to 5-4 overall and 1-4 in NSIC play, while the Beavers moved to 5-4 and 2-3 in league games.

Despite shooting just 21.9 percent from the floor in the first half, the Wolves managed to keep a step ahead of the Beavers by getting to the free throw line.  NSU converted on 15 of 21 charity attempts and turned an early 15-5 deficit into a five-point advantage by intermission.  The Wolves scored the final six points of the half to head into the locker room leading 33-28.

The second half turned into a free throw shooting contest when both teams reached the double bonus with more than 11 and a half minutes left to play.  That battle victory went to the Beavers, who went 31-for-37 from the stripe and shot the ball at a blistering 62.5 percent clip, outscoring the Wolves 64-53 in the second half alone to escape with the win.

NSU, for its part, also got to the free throw line 23 times, but hit just 15 of those attempts and watched their halftime edge slowly slip away through the course of the stanza.  A trio of late three-pointers from Tom Parks and Derek Hoellein gave the Wolves a glimmer of hope late in the game, but it was too little, too late, as the Beavers went 11 of 14 from the free throw line in the final 1:04 of play.

The Wolves put four starters in double figures, led by Parks' 19-point performance.  The senior went 4-for-10 from deep.  Collin Pryor and David Lane each added 16, while Hoellein chipped in with 11.  Pryor scored 10 of his 16 points at the free throw line, while Lane snagged seven rebounds and dished out nine assists.  Reserve forward Dustin Tetzlaff came off the bench for 12 points and another seven boards.  Tetzlaff, Parks and Pryor all fouled out of the contest in the second half.

Bemidji State also had five players in double figures, getting a game-best 27 points from James Ellisor.  Ellisor scored 21 of those in the second half despite picking up his fourth foul of the night early in the stanza.  Mason Walters and Lance Rongstad added 15 and 14 points, respectively, in reserve, while Pat Cassidy also came off the bench for a dozen points.  Jake Schallow added 11 points, all in the second half.

Defensively, the Wolves forced Bemidji State into 20 turnovers, but only eight in the second half.

NSU is back in action tomorrow night as they host Minnesota-Duluth to close out the 2010 portion of the schedule.  The Bulldogs suffered their first NSIC loss of the season on Friday night, falling to the University of Mary 68-54.  Tip-off is slated for 8 p.m. in Wachs Arena.

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