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Home Sports Men’s basketball moves to semifinals with 87-83 win against Defenders

Junior forward Tristan Smith (22) brings the ball near the basket with an impressive maneuver around two opponents. 

Photo credit: Kayla Korb

By Isaac Dawson


The Concordia men’s basketball team won their game against the Dordt University Defenders this Saturday in Friedrich Arena with a final score of 87-83, taking the win in the quarterfinals and moving on to the semifinals in Hastings.

The first half began with both teams playing fairly evenly, with few overall points scored, and going toe-to-toe on defense. Concordia started to take off with the lead following Dordt’s attempt to be fancy with their ball handling, climbing to a ten-point lead.

The Bulldog’s layup game suffered, but their second chance points were unmatched in the paint; an especially good self-putback by junior Tristan Smith bringing the score to 11-3.

After a few more successful drives, Concordia’s points came to a halt as Dordt put up a few of their own accompanied by a three. Minutes later the Bulldogs put their foot back on the accelerator, junior Noah Schutte dropping in two jumpers alongside Smith and a freshman Jaxon Stueve layup.

The Defenders held their own extremely well, taking all of Concordia’s three-point mojo to sink the occasional deep shot, while the Bulldogs mostly dominated the paint. The offense took a hit as the first half wound down, not quite able to snatch the offensive rebounds for any more second chance points.

Dordt finally managed to take the lead from Concordia with a minute left in the half at 40-41, keeping the Bulldogs at bay to take the half at 40-43 with a layup.

The second half looked dire for the Concordia men with the Defenders putting up several unseemly threes and some layups to boot. Our only salvation apart from the good Lord himself came from Smith and Schutte in the paint, rebounding and driving for the Bulldogs only eight points total in six minutes.

The first Concordia three in eons came from junior Bradly Bennett, and a good jump shot by Smith tied up the game at 53-53. Coach Limback commented on the unfortunate lack of threes.

“We had to continue to get to the free throw line, but I thought we were defending them overall in the half court,” he said. “Our guys are just gritty and tough; we’ll find ways to make plays and squeak ‘em out as best we can. Hopefully, the three ball gets going on Saturday!”

With 11 minutes on the clock, the Bulldogs began to outdo themselves, Schutte, Bennett, and freshman Hayden Frank getting the team back on track to win with a seven-point lead and bringing a few threes out of nowhere. Dordt started to put on some good moves at the 70-point mark, dodging and weaving around Concordia’s defense to take and maintain the lead for a scary amount of game time.

Timely free throws by freshman Brooks Kissinger and Schutte as well as a sick dunk by Smith managed to bring the odds back in the Bulldog’s favor, closing out the quarterfinals at 87-84. Coach Limback commented on the expectations coming into the game.

“We knew it was going to be a fun battle with them, both games before have been close like this; they just got really good guards…fortunately, we were good enough tonight to make the plays we needed to,” he said.

The team as a whole scored 34 of 74 field goals (46 percent), five of 22 three pointers (23 percent), and had eight assists. They made 14 of 15 free throws and had 42 rebounds.

Schutte and Smith were the leading scorers with 25 and 24 points respectively, Smith taking home the most rebounds at 12 and Schutte getting the most assists at three.

The team’s next game is the Great Plains Athletic Conference semifinals match in Hastings against the Hastings College Broncos at 3 p.m. on Mar. 2.

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