by Elisha Meyer
Concordia University is moving on to the Round of 16 after beating Marian University 90-67 Saturday night to win the Opening Round regional in Omaha, Nebraska.
The Bulldogs took the floor at D.J. Sokol Arena just one day after winning their first national tournament game since 2005 against Indiana University Northwestern 96-78. Like the game before, Bulldog fans made the trip to Omaha to support their team, even with the tournament starting in Concordia’s spring recess.
The Bulldogs picked up right where they left off on the offensive side of the ball, this time led by Carter Kent’s near-perfect first half, hitting all five of his shots from the floor. Four of those were good from beyond the three-point arc in a 14-point performance. The only shots he missed were free throws, going 0-3 in his only trip to the line.
Emotions heated up at the end of the first-half play when A.J. Watson and Christian Harvey got tangled up on a made shot by Watson with just seconds remaining. Harvey immediately walked over to Watson and both teams met at the tunnel with some pushing and shoving. The situation deescalated as the teams went to the locker room.
The Bulldogs finished off Marian in the second half with their second straight 90+ point performance, shooting above 50 percent from the floor overall as well as the three-point arc. Noah Schute led the way with 20 points, Kent finishing just behind at 19. Gage Smith and Justin Wiersema finished in double figures as well, with Smith also leading the team in rebounds with 16 to record a double-double.
Marian never found an offensive groove, only shooting 37.9 percent from the floor, along with a 57.1 percentage of made foul shots. Harvey led Marian in scoring with 13 points. Jacob Wiley and Christian Stewart tied with 11 points. Foul trouble limited further scoring for both Harvey and Wiley, with Wiley fouling out in the second half.
Marian University ended their season with a 26-6 overall record and a runner-up in the Crossroads League Tournament.
The Bulldogs will face IU Kokomo in the Round of 16 on either March 17 or 18.