Bemidji men reach NSIC title game
Bemidji State advanced on Friday to the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference men's basketball tournament finals for the first time since the current format begin in 2000.
BSU will play Minnesota State, Mankato in the 5:30 p.m. title game today at the Mayo Civic Center Taylor Arena.
Bemidji missed nine free throws and hit just three 3-pointers, but played well enough on the defensive end to prevail 64-61 against Upper Iowa in the semifinals.
Senior Dermaine Crockrell (G, Mesa, Ariz.) led the Beavers with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field and added five rebounds, four assists and two blocks. Senior Mason Walters (F, Milton, Wis.) and junior Zach Noreen (F, Avon, Minn.) each scored 13 points, while Noreen posted a team-best seven rebounds.
Senior Lance Rongstad (G/F, Eleva, Wis.) scored all of his 10 points in the second half on 3-of-4 shooting from the field and a 4-of-4 effort from the line.
With the game tied just inside the two-minute mark, Crockrell knocked down a three, then on the next possession he passed to Walters for a three that put the Beavers ahead by six.
Bemidji (18-11) was the No. 3 seed in the NSIC North. Mankato, ranked seventh in the national Division II NCAA poll, is 25-4.
Mankato rolls by Augustana
No. 7-ranked Minnesota State, Mankato shot 64.3 percent from the field and cruised to an 87-66 victory against Augustana in Friday's second men's semifinal game.
The Mavericks were paced by senior Jarvis Williams, who scored 20 points on 9-of-10 shooting and grabbed six rebounds. Connor O'Brien and Assem Marei added 15 points each. Marei added six rebounds, three blocks and three steals.
MSU, Mankato led by 10 at halftime, 44-34, and pulled away in the second half.
Daniel Jansen scored 17 points to lead the Vikings, while Cameron McCaffrey had 15 points and six assists.
MSU, Mankato takes a 25-4 record into today's tournament championship game against Bemidji State, while Augustana dropped to 21-8.
Mankato women top Winona
Minnesota State, Mankato — ranked 17th nationally -- downed Winona State in the semifinal round of the NSIC women's tournament, 73-57 to improve to 25-4 overall.
The Mavericks took a 37-28 lead into intermission. They saw their lead cut to six points in the opening seconds of the second half, but MSU counterrallied to extend its lead to 10 points, leading 59-49 with 7:30 remaining in the game.
Junior Steffaney Thomas finished with 16 points and was one of three Mankato players to net double-digit points. She was joined by Davis and junior Ali Wilkinson who finished with 13 points and 11 points respectively.
The Warriors were led by Katie Wolff who netted 27 points, while Michelle Tobin scored 12 points and hauled in 12 rebounds.
The victory made this the first 25-win season since the Mavericks won the national title during the 2008-09 season, when they posted a 32-2 record.
Augustana reaches final
Emily Schulte carried the Augustana offense with 19 points and a stellar defensive effort handed the Vikings a 55-43 victory over Concordia-St. Paul in the other semifinal game.
The Vikings take a 23-6 record into today's 3 p.m. title game. They are the No. 3 seed in the South, behind No. 2 Mankato and No. 1 St. Cloud, which lost by two points to Winona in the quarterfinals.
Augustana held CU to 15 second-half points and 4-for-23 shooting. The Golden Bears connected on just 28.8 percent of their field goal attempts for the game as the Vikings forced 18 turnovers which they converted into 14 points.
This is the Vikings' second-consecutive trip to the NSIC tournament championship game. Augustana fell to Wayne State on a last-second shot, 62-59, in last year's game.