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Home Sports Men’s basketball plays close game against Red Hawks, winning 83-81

Freshman forward Jaxon Stueve (14) puts the ball up for a successful basket as members of the opposing team close in.

Photo credit: Esther Molina (photo from previous game)

By Cohen Carpenter


The Bulldogs were caught red-handed Friday night, found guilty of prematurely ending the Red Hawks season in Selina, Kansas, besting Indiana University Northwest in an 83-81 national tournament thriller.

The final score wasn’t quite indicative of how the game started. In fact, with 8:23 left to play in the first half, the game was a healthy back and forth and the Red Hawks would tie and take the lead, 23-22, over the Bulldogs with a pair of free throws from junior guard Demarius Splunge. From this point onward, the Red Hawks only scored ten more points for the remainder of the half.

Throughout the rest of the quarter, Concordia would out-score the Chicagoland Colligate Athletic Conference 2024 champions 26-10 with juniors Noah Schutte and Tristan Smith accounting for 24 of the Bulldogs’ 48 first half points. The decisive factor in the scoring differential was the distance shooting.

At half, the Red Hawks were outscoring the Bulldogs 26-14 in the paint, had six offensive rebounds to Concordia’s one, committed less fouls, and had more steals and blocks. Indiana’s downfall was their three-point shooting. In a sequence of events reminiscent of the 2018 Rockets in the Western Conference Finals, the Red Hawks missed all 11 first half three-point attempts.

Concordia on the other hand, had no such shooting woes, going 19-31 (61.3 percent) from the field and 9-14 (64.3 percent) from downtown through the first 20 minutes of play. Notable among the first half performers was freshman guard Brooks Kissinger, who seems to be playing some of his best ball down the stretch. Before heading into the locker room, the freshman shot two threes and made two threes with two rebounds and an assist.

The second half opened with the Red Hawks first made three of the day, courtesy of guard Anthony Taylor. The Red Hawks finished the night going 4-22 from beyond the arch.

This first made three would be a sign of good tidings to come for the Red Hawk offense, as the second half couldn’t have been much different than the first.

After being down 20 points in the first half at one point, the Red Hawks would tie and then overtake the Bulldogs with 3:30 left in the game. This came despite the heroics of junior Noah Schutte who scored a majority of his points in the game’s final frame.

After putting up 12 in the first 20 minutes, Schutte would add 19 in the second 20 minutes, finishing the night on 11-18 shooting from the field with eight rebounds and four assists. These four assists ended up leading the team individually, as both teams seemed to shoot the ball quickly in the possession throughout the night.

In the game’s final minutes, Indiana Northwest played with renewed vigor; however, the Bulldogs refused to quit. In poetic fashion, the three ball, which had given Concordia a 20-point lead in the first half, would be the Red Hawks’ doom in the final seconds.

Up by just one point with 1:39 on the clock, Lukas Helms would step up to bat. Having a relatively quiet night offensively, finishing with 9 points on 3-6 shooting, the freshman was about to hit the go-ahead, game winning blast. At the top of the key, Helms attempted his first and only three-pointer of the night, a three-run bomb to straight-away centerfield that put the Bulldogs up four points, 81-77.

By this point the Red Hawks had to play the fouling game, which proved dangerous on a night where the Bulldogs only shot 46.4 percent from the free throw line. Nevertheless, when points were needed the most, both Schutte and Smith made clutch shots from the charity stripe in the final minutes to maintain the lead and put the game away. Indiana Northwestern’s final possession ended in a turnover and a Bulldog victory.

Along with Schutte, the second head of Concordia’s two-headed monster, Smith, also did not disappoint. He finished with 19 points on 7-14 shooting from the field with seven rebounds to boot.

Overall, Concordia had nine Bulldogs register points and the team shot strong throughout the night, making 12 of 20 three-point shots, good for an even 60 percent.

The Bulldogs will be back in action Saturday, Mar. 16, for the second round of the NAIA national tournament. Tip-off will be in Selina, Kansas at 6 p.m.

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