BULLDOGS FALL TO HOT-SHOOTING BEAVERS, 85-72
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Weather conditions outside of the Bemidji State University Gymnasium were as they had been all day – clear and not a chance of precipitation. It was the heavy downpour of a basketball variety inside the facility that troubled the University of Minnesota Duluth men’s basketball team.
UMD (7-4, 4-3 NSIC) was hurt early by a strong shooting Bemidji State (10-3, 5-2 NSIC) squad en route to an 85-72 setback in their first contest of 2012.
“There was no competitiveness on our part tonight,” said head coach Gary Holquist. “We fought uphill all night and we didn’t have that added edge you need to win against a team that’s likely going to be in competition for the conference championship.”
After the game opening basket by the Beavers, Jake Hottenstine snaked his way through the BSU interior on two straight trips down the floor to give the Bulldogs an early 4-2 advantage. That was before a 9-0 run by the Beavers took the wind out of UMD’s sails in the early minutes. Not wanting to bring in 2012 by going down easy, the Bulldogs responded as the teams traded baskets for the next two possessions.
As the Bemidji State lead stood at eight, Ryan Rasmussen slashed into the lane where he was promptly fouled and made good on his pair of attempts from the charity stripe. With two strong defensive trips down the floor, the Bulldogs elected to pound the ball inside with reigning NSIC Freshman of the Year Brett Ervin earning four points and diminishing the Bemidji State lead to just two.
It was then that UMD fell victim to a 14-2 Bemidji State run over the next four minutes. The Bulldogs could not find an answer to the three-point shooting of the Beavers – who were six-for-10 in the first half.
A Dylan Rodriguez jumper cut the deficit to single digits again but that was as close as the Bulldogs were allowed to get in the first half. Heading into the locker room, the Bulldogs found themselves trailing 46-34 thanks to 14-of-24 shooting by the Beavers in the opening half.
The woes UMD faced were unrelenting even in the second half as the Beavers increased their lead to 19 in the opening minutes. Try as they might, UMD could get no closer than 12 through the rest of the game.
Blayne Erie finally tallied a three-point basket for the Bulldogs at the 3:09 mark of the second half to break the drought that had lasted through the majority of the game. UMD has succeeded in making at least one three-pointer in each game for over three seasons.
The battle of the top two scorers in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference did not live up to its billing as it turned out to be rather one sided. James Ellisor tallied a game-high 25 points for the Beavers while second-leading scorer in the conference Ryan Rasmussen turned in an 11-point performance.
Hottenstine led the way for the Bulldogs with 18 markers while Ervin added 17 in the defeat.
Another short turnaround is in place as UMD departs Duluth bound for Wayne, Nebraska. The NSIC matchup between the Bulldogs and Wildcats is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Saturday (Jan. 9).
“The bottom line is we have to play defense to be successful,” said Holquist. “You can’t spot a team 85 points and expect to win. These two road games are important because we need to learn how to bounce back after a loss like this.”
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