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Home Sports Bulldogs hold off second half push from Tigers, win 94-88

Freshman forward Lukas Helms (20) avoids his opponent shortly before a turnover. 

Photo credit: Esther Molina (photo from previous game)

By Darien Semedo


The No. 21 Concordia Bulldogs (20-5, 13-4) extended their winning streak on the road with a win over Doane Tigers (7-19, 2-16) 94-88, thanks to impressive nights from juniors Noah Schutte and Tristan Smith.

The recently nationally ranked Concordia Bulldogs continued their winning ways as they have found their stride towards the end of the season. Since their loss to the then first place Hastings Broncos, Coach Ben Limback and his young crew have won nine in a row while taking over in the Great Plains Athletic Conference standings.

The energy was obvious in the first for the Bulldogs. Schutte and Smith set the tone right away, finishing with 15 and 13 points in the first half respectively. Smith would be able to get clean drives to the basket, including a filthy posterizing dunk that left the home crowd stunned. Eight first half turnovers would torment the Tigers as it led to easy buckets for the Bulldogs as Concordia would jump out to 51- 36 in the first half.

The Tigers would refuse to go away in the second half. Energized by the crowd and some good shot making, the Tigers would mount an aggressive comeback. After being up by as many as 21 in the second half, the Bulldogs would not score a field goal for over five minutes.

By the six-minute mark, the Tigers had erased the deficit to a one-point lead. Smith and freshman Hayden Frank would answer the call, scoring 16 of the team’s last 19 points before late free throws. Smith’s aggressive mentality when attacking the basket on drives and posts was key to their late game offense. Kick outs to shooters were falling and led to the victory.

On offense, the dynamic duo of Schutte (25) and Smith (28) would lead the way, with Frank (12) finishing in double digits. Limback deployed a large reserve unit, resulting in 24 points from the bench. The lane was wide open for the Bulldogs who scored 52 points in the paint, leading to them shooting 63.6 percent from the field and an efficient 7-12 from the three-point line. On defense, the Tigers would shoot 53 percent from the field and turn the ball over 13 times. 11 of the 13 were steals by Bulldogs, with Frank leading the team at three.

As the home stretch is here for the GPAC regular season, the Bulldogs will prepare to play the Dordt Defenders (17-8, 10-7). In their last matchup, the Bulldogs leaned on Schutte with Smith missing to get the win. In the GPAC standings, the Bulldogs have one more victory than Northwestern (12-4 GPAC), but split the season series with them, so every game will matter in the tight Conference race.

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