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Home Sports Men’s basketball takes first place in the conference in a close battle...

Photo Description: (from left to right) freshman Jaxon Stueve and junior Noah Schutte grapple with Dordt’s Luke Rankin for a rebound in Monday night’s close game.

Photo Credit: Esther Molina

Cohen Carpenter

Concordia handled Dordt Monday night and secured sole first place atop the GPAC conference after an 89-84 win in Seward.


In a battle that featured the two top teams in the GPAC (albeit there was a five-way tie for first coming into Monday night) a six-game winning streak was on the line for the Bulldogs, who were red-hot coming into a highly anticipated matchup against Dordt.


Concordia was just on the heels of a duo of impressive wins against two ranked, conference opponents. In the last game of January, the Bulldogs bested #19 Morningside, winning by eleven when it was all said and done. Three days later the Bulldogs eked out a nail-biter on their home court when they won 84-81 over #12 Northwestern.


Despite the aforementioned, the Bulldogs came into Monday night still unranked – a fact that might change after a conference win over the Defenders.


The Bulldogs tipped off Monday night without star forward Tristian Smith—a big loss as the junior is averaging 17.9 points and 9.1 rebounds a game this season. Smith was also coming off a GPAC Player of the Week award after a dominant CIT performance.


Despite this loss, the Bulldogs were able to handle business in the first half. While there was only one Bulldog with a double-digit point total in the first half, every Bulldog who saw the court through the first 20 minutes found the bottom of the net. Naturally, Noah Schutte led the way for Concordia as he shot 4-6 with 12 points and eight rebounds through the first frame.


Schutt finished the game the same way he started it, scoring throughout. When the fat lady was singing, the team leader in points per game had 21 on 6-10 shooting, seven free throws on as many attempts, 11 rebounds and four assists.


As a team the Bulldogs had one of their best halves of the season shooting the ball. Concordia boasted an impressive .462 shooting percentage on all field goals and shot 8 for 21 from downtown, good for a .381 clip from beyond the arch.


All in all, the Bulldogs led 48-41 through a very clean half of basketball, as both teams only committed a total of 5 turnovers.


The second half was much like the first in terms of the back and forth. With just under 9 minutes left to play in the game, the Defenders knotted the game up at 65 a piece. Following this momentary tie, the Bulldogs began to pull away.


Freshman guard Hayden Frank made a contested three with 7 minutes left to play to put the Bulldogs up six, two possessions later he followed it up with yet another contested shot from beyond the arch putting Concordia up 8.


Frank finished the night with 17 points on 6-12 shooting from the field. The freshman did most of his damage from beyond the arch, going 3-6 from 3 point land to go along with two rebounds and an assist.


Nevertheless, in the final seconds Dordt was able to keep the contest close, trailing 82-79 within a minute left to play. Despite the Defenders’ driving, freshman guard Jaxon Stueve took a crucial foul under the rim and proceeded to sink both free throws leaving Dordt 41.9 seconds to overcome a five point deficit.


A late three from Dordt senior guard Bryce Coppock made things interesting, bringing the contest within one with 14 seconds left on the clock. Unfortunately for Dordt, Concordia had been practicing their free throws and the Bulldogs pulled away in the end winning 89-84.


To go along with Frank and Schutte, three other Bulldogs reached double digits in a convincing offensive performance where Concordia made 36.7% of their three pointers and 90.9% of their free throws.

The win broke the tie and Concordia secured first place atop the GPAC, having a better conference and overall record than the rest of the field. This placement will be tested in the Bulldog’s next game against Dakota Wesleyan Wednesday afternoon, where the Bulldogs will face off against the Tigers in Seward. Tip off is scheduled for 2:45pm.

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