Wayne, Neb. --- The Wayne State College men’s basketball team could not overcome 13 3-pointers by Bemidji State as the Beavers downed the Wildcats 79-71 Saturday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the 2023 NSIC Men’s Basketball Tournament at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. BSU is now 20-10 on the year while WSC ends the season at 18-11.

The ‘Cats led 8-5 early in the game, but Bemidji State went on a 14-4 run and built a 19-12 lead at the 8:32 mark of the first half.

WSC battled back and was within one at 24-23 with 3:14 to play following a Nick Ferrarini 3-pointer. Two more treys from Ferrarini and a David Harmon three-point play to close the half gave the ‘Cats a 32-31 lead at intermission.

Bemidji State opened the second half red hot from the field, making 3 of 4 behind the arc, to cap a 13-2 run to open the second half as the Beavers took a 44-34 lead.

The Beavers pushed the advantage to 14 at 56-42 with 12:47 to play. BSU still led 60-50 with 9:31 to play and 68-59 with 6:59 remaining when the Wildcats made a comeback.

Baskets by Nate Mohr, Jay Saunders and Ferrarini got WSC within three at 68-65 with 5:25 left, but that’s the closest the ‘Cats would get to Bemidji State.

The Beavers got back-to-back baskets to go up 73-65. A Ferrarini basket and two free throws by Cody McCullough closed the BSU lead to 73-69 with 2:17 to play.

But Bemidji State continued to get key baskets and sealed the win with four free throws in the final 21 seconds to knock off the South Division champion Wildcats 79-71.

Ferrarini led Wayne State in scoring with 17 points. McCullough finished with 14, Harmon scored a season-high 13 and Saunders finished with 12.

Fifth year forward Jordan Janssen attempted to battle through a foot injury and played just 11 minutes and was 1 of 2 from the field for two points with one rebound.

Wayne State finished the game making 27 of 63 shots for 42.9 percent. The ‘Cats were just 4 of 16 from the 3-point line and 13 of 13 at the line.

Bemidji State’s top scorer was Johnny Tennyson with 23 points. John Sutherland and Mohamed Kone each scored 16 with RJ Smith adding 12.

The Beavers shot 47.5 percent from the field making 29 of 61 shots that included 13 of 30 behind the arc. BSU was 8 of 11 at the free throw line.

Bemidji State held a 37-29 advantage in rebounds over WSC as McCullough and Justin Eagins each hauled in eight boards for the ‘Cats. Saunders finished with a team-high four assists and two steals.

Wayne State graduates three seniors – all 1,000 point scorers – Nick Ferrarini, Jordan Janssen and Nate Mohr.