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Home Sports Men’s basketball enters three-way GPAC tie after 79-73 loss to Defenders

Junior forward Noah Schutte (12) attempts a close shot as he’s blocked by an opponent

Photo credit: Esther Molina (photo from previous game)

By Cohen Carpenter


In a game where Concordia could have tied for first in the Great Plains Athletic Conference, the Bulldogs fell short to the Dordt Defenders 79-73, netting them a much more contentious three-way tie for second place in the conference against Morningside University and Northwestern College.

The complexion of the game was far different from the two squads’ Feb. 5 matchup, a difference that was apparent from the tip-off. Back in the lineup after an ankle injury was junior forward Tristan Smith, who led the Bulldogs to a dominant opening frame.

After winning the tip-off, it seemed nothing could go awry for the Bulldogs. The Defenders took over four minutes to put their first points on the board in the form of a Connar Millikan 3-pointer. In that same amount of time the Bulldogs had scored 12, with half of those points coming from Smith and junior forward Noah Schutte.

Eventually, the Bulldog lead ballooned to 17-5 – but not for long. The Defenders scored 11 of the next 15, bringing the game to within striking distance. With eight minutes left before halftime the Defenders brought the game within two when yet another Connar Millikan 3-pointer cut the lead to 18-16, Concordia’s favor.

Unfortunately for the Defenders, the Bulldogs finished the first half just as strong as they started it, heading into halftime with a double-digit, 39-29 lead.

The key to this disparity was quite obvious, both by watching the game and by glancing over the box score. In the first 20 minutes of regulation, the Bulldogs went 14-29 from the field, netting a respectable shooting percentage of .483. The Defenders, on the other hand, shot a much more dismal 10-34, leading to a much less flattering .294 shooting percentage.

With this in mind, the real top performer of the night was Defender head coach Brian Van Haaften, who must have given a rather rousing speech to his players at half time.

Concordia’s double-digit lead did not last long as Dordt retook the court with renewed vigor. In front of their home crowd in Sioux City, the Defenders looked a little more locked in, shooting 19-38, a 50 percent clip, for the second half. Furthermore, the home team started to nail the three ball, shooting 36.4 percent for the remainder of the contest.

These efforts culminated in Dordt taking a three-point lead with less than six minutes to play in the contest, a lead which, from that point onward, the Defenders did not relinquish.

Concordia did indeed keep the home fans on the edge of their seats as the final minutes wore on, as the Bulldogs never got behind by more than five points. However, it was all for naught. A game in which Concordia held a 12-point lead early on turned into a ‘L’ in the win/loss column.

As previously mentioned, Smith was back in the lineup and, along with his partner in crime, Noah Schutte, they lit up the stats sheet as usual.

Smith wrapped up the night with yet another double-double with a line of 16 points, 13 rebounds and an assist on 5-8 shooting from the field and 6-8 from the charity stripe.

Schutte once again led the team in scoring with 17 points to go along with seven rebounds and three assists on 7-15 shooting.

Tied for the scoring lead and continuing to make an impact early on in his Concordia career was freshman guard Hayden Frank. The Malcolm, Nebraska native tied Schutte with 17 points, but needed fewer shots to get there, going 7-10 from the field with two rebounds.

Despite the loss, the Bulldogs’ playoffs hopes are alive and well with a crucial stretch of games coming up to finish the season. Concordia next takes the court Wednesday against Hastings College in Friedrich Arena. There the Bulldogs will look to get back at Hastings after losing a 79-78 nailbiter in Fremont earlier in the season. The rematch is set to tip off at 7:45 p.m.

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