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MEN'S BASKETBALL: Beavers taking lessons into weekend

BEMIDJI -- Although the Bemidji State men’s basketball team came up empty during its last road trip, the Beavers are taking away what they can in hopes that it helps this weekend.

“Even if you don’t win on the scoreboard, you want to continue to grow and hope things can turn for you at some point,” BSU head coach Mike Boschee said. “We’re disappointed, obviously. We watched film and saw a bunch of things we could have done a little bit better. It’s such a fine line in this league. It always has been… But I was really pleased with how we played both games.”

Twice last weekend, Bemidji State (6-9, 3-7 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) came five points short of victory in losses to St. Cloud State (77-72) and Minnesota Duluth (62-57).

“Both teams got runs on us, but we were able to respond and put runs back on them, and we actually had leads late in the game,” Boschee said. “It’s a fine line between 2-0 on the weekend and 0-2. We, unfortunately, went on the road and go 0-2, which happens a lot on the road in this league.”

Now, BSU is looking to take the lessons and use them while away from home again this weekend.

“A lot of the reasons why we lost those games are from mistakes,” senior guard Christian Pekarek said. “So trying to correct those mistakes with our ball-screen defense, taking care of the ball, rebounding, doing all the little things right will help us win games coming up.”

With SCSU and UMD in the rearview mirror, the Beavers are turning to Sioux Falls and Southwest Minnesota State for a pair of upset opportunities on the road.

“They’re so opposite in how they play,” Boschee said. “Sioux Falls has a ton of sets and a ton of plays, where they try to out-execute you. Southwest is a little more like us in a way, where they try to spread the floor out and use some of their individual talents to beat you.”

“They’ve both got really good players,” Pekarek added. “They do a lot of things well. They defend well, they rebound well. It’s going to be a tough place to play, too, especially on the road. It should be a fun weekend for us, though.”

Bemidji State will first tip off with the Cougars (10-5, 6-4 NSIC) at 8 p.m. tonight in Sioux Falls, S.D., and then BSU will return to action at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 13, to play the Mustangs (11-5, 7-3 NSIC) in Marshall.

Boschee knows the winning formula isn’t a secret late in games.

“It’s really simple. Get those defensive stops when you need them, make sure you’re not making any mistakes defensively, and then just make a play on the offensive end,” he said. “It comes down to, a lot of times, making the correct read or making the open shot, or being aggressive on your attack to the hoop, making a free throw. Those little things add up.”

And Pekarek said the Beavers still have their foot on the gas.

“I think (we’ve stayed energized) through each other, working hard every day in practice,” he said. “Making sure that everyone has the right mindset of what we want to get done and what we want to accomplish, now and in the future to come, really setting ourselves up for the playoffs.”

Micah Friez

Micah Friez is a sports reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, he is currently studying Creative and Professional Writing at Bemidji State. Follow him on Twitter at @micahfriez for Lumberjack and Beaver updates.

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