MARSHALL - Southwest Minnesota State has made a habit of coming from behind, but weren't able to mount a comeback this time, dropping a 91-82 decision to Bemidji State Friday night in front of a crowd of 1,777.
The Mustangs had a 71-69 lead with seven minutes to go in the game, but then surrendered a 12-0 run in the next 3 minutes that helped the Beavers to their 8th straight win, the longest winning streak for the school since 1973.
Starting strong isn't something the Mustangs have been doing consistently this season. SMSU coach Brad Bigler knows his team is going to have to make some adjustments in order to fix that area of the game.
Photo by David Merrill
Southwest Minnesota State’s Joey Bartlett attempts a shot as Bemidji State’s Brock Lutes defends during a Nothern Sun Intercollegiate Conference game Friday at the R/A Facility.
"We haven't been a team that has started off games well," Bigler said. "The first five minutes of games have been a struggle with regards to turnovers and making plays that aren't there. Hopefully we can clean up some of that decision-making."
Nick Smith led the team with 19 points while William Giddings added 16 and the Mustangs got 11 points from Vinard Birch, Matt Zager and Travis Meinders. Joey Bartlett 11 points came off the bench.
Zager joined the 1,000-point club for the Mustangs on the night as well, becoming the 19th Mustang to accomplish that feat.
Having a player reach that feat was a big moment for Bigler, who has seen good things out of his senior.
"Matt has been a guy who's logged a lot of minutes and has been very consistent throughout his carreer," Bigler said. "He has been one of the most efficient players that I've coached."
Even in a loss, Zager is proud to be part of a group that has accomplished a lot on the court as SMSU.
"It's an elite group of guys that have gone through the program," Zager said. I'm not on the same level as them, but it's nice to be mentioned along with them."
Brock Lutes was the leading scorer for BSU with 26 points and he had help from Zach Noreen, who had 24 points and Maxie Rosenbloom, who finished with 22 points.
With four players reaching double-figure point totals on 21 total assits, Bemidji State's success has been greatly rooted in their unselfish play.
"We share the basketball really well," Bemidji State coach Mike Boschee said. "We don't care who's scoring, we just know we're a lot better team if we move the basketball and try to find the open guy."
While compiling a lot of wins comes easier when you have a team full of unselfish scorers, Bigler acknowledged coaching has made a big impact as well.
He saw an opponent that took advantage of every SMSU miscue.
"No disrespect to any other coach in the league, but I would say coach Boschee and his staff have coached these guys as well as anyone that we've played this year. They took advantage of every opportunity. Every breakdown tha we had, they capitalized on."
SMSU falls to 13-8 overall and 10-5 in the NSIC while Bemidji State improves to 15-4 overall and 12-3 in the conference. SMSU takes on Minnesota-Crookston tomorrow night at 7 p.m.
BEMIDJI STATE 91, SMSU 82
BEMIDJI STATE (15-4 OVERALL, 12-3 NSIC NORTH): Brock Lutes 8 6-6 26, Scott Zach Noreen 11 1-2 24, Maxie Rosenbloom 8 5-7 22, D.J. Hervy 0 0-0 0, Michael Farrington 2 0-1 5, Jake Schalow 4 2-2 14, Dillon Floyd 0 0-0 0, TOTALS: 33-54 (61%) 14-18 (79%) 91.
SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA STATE (13-8 OVERALL, 10-5 NSIC SOUTH): William Giddings 6 2-3 16, Vinard Birch 4-7 3-4 11, Drew Osmundson 0 0-0 0, Mitch Weg 3 0-0 6, Shaun Condon 3 0-0 , Travis Meinders 1 0-0 2, Joey Bartlett 4 0-0 11, Matt Zager 5 0-0 11, David Condon 0 0-0 0, Nick Smith 9 1-1 19. TOTALS: 35-65 (54%) 6-8 (75%) 82.
HALFTIME: BSU 39, SMSU 37. 3-POINT FIELD GOALS: Bemidji State 11-19 (Brock 4-7, Noreen 1-2, Rosenbloom 1-2, Schalow 4-6, Farrington 1-2); Southwest Minnesota State 6-25 (Bartlett 3-9, Giddings 2-7, Zager 1-4). REBOUNDS: Bemidji State 32 (Rosenbloom 13); Southwest Minnesota State 22 (Smith 7). TOTAL FOULS (FOULED OUT): Bemidji State 10 (None); Southwest Minnesota State 16 (None). TECHNICAL FOULS: None. ASSISTS: Bemidji State 21 (Farrington 8); Southwest Minnesota State 18 (Zager 5). STEALS: Bemidji State 5 (Farrington 3); Southwest Minnesota State 10 (Weg 4). BLOCKED SHOTS: Bemidji State 3 (Rosenbloom 2); Southwest Minnesota State 3 (Smith 2). TURNOVERS: Bemidji State 16; Southwest Minnesota State 10.