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Home Sports Men’s basketball ties for GPAC regular season title after 90-84 win against...

Junior forward Noah Schutte (12) and freshman guard/forward Jaxon Stueve (14) collaborate in blocking an opponent from putting up a successful shot. 

Photo credit: Esther Molina (photo from previous game)

By Isaac Dawson


The Concordia men’s basketball team won their game against the Midland University Warriors this Saturday in Friedrich Arena with a final score of 90-84, tying with Hastings College and Northwestern College for the Great Plains Athletic Conference regular season title.

Following Midland’s successful tipoff and successive dropping of the ball in the first half, each team struggled to push past the opposing defense until a Warrior’s three started the ball rolling. At 4-6 Concordia started losing ground on points, mostly keeping up within five points but never quite reaching the level of the aggressive Midland offense.

Coach Limback explained Concordia’s early strategy.

“We were trying to keep their point guard out of the lane, but then he got going,” he said. “We did a mediocre job of that at best at times.”

The Bulldogs got a taste of the lead for a time with an excellent drive by junior Bradley Bennett and a three from junior Joel Baker, maintaining it with some free throw points from junior Noah Schutte until a Midland three took it back.

Both teams took the lead back and forth in an intense game of tug-and-war, Midland not afraid to get physical and pushing in hard and taking a lot of layups and free throws to the scoreboard. Concordia pulled off a few great drives as well alongside another set of free throws from Schutte, but lagged behind near the end of the first half to finish it off at a score of 40-37 behind Midland.

The Bulldogs’ offense took a running start at the beginning of the second half, pulling ahead in a battle of fast breaks, but suffering on the defensive side and allowing the Warriors to catch them at 51-51 and then pull ahead.

Midland pressed their advantage, putting the pedal to the metal and accelerating the pace of the game to breakneck speeds. Each team gave everything to take rebounds and race down the court in an intense battle for the lead. Concordia couldn’t quite grab ahold of it but managed to survive the onslaught with good defense to stay within a few points of the Warriors.

Coach Limback gave his thought process on the increased intensity, saying, “We wanted to run, and we just couldn’t get in the rhythm tonight… we knew it was the league title on the line, we just weren’t sharp tonight. We wanted it to be one-sided. We didn’t want both teams to be able to run it. Midland put in good effort.”

The Bulldogs snatched the scoreboard back with four minutes to go at 65-63, staying just ahead with yet another series of free throws from Schutte and a good layup by junior Tristan Smith. Midland’s defense refused to let any rebounds near Concordia’s offense, keeping up with the Bulldogs and matching layup for layup while Concordia struggled to make the longer shots.

The Bulldogs’ offense managed some incredible ball movement to take the lead with naught but seconds on the clock at 71-69, but the Warriors didn’t let the win happen and tied it up at 73-73 for overtime.

Concordia went into overtime with a new spirit, stopping most of Midland’s points and shooting like they were in the NBA all of a sudden. Freshman Hayden Frank and Schutte dominated those extra five minutes, earning 11 points themselves. Alongside Smith’s layup, the Warriors stood no chance, and Concordia took the win with freshman Jaxon Stueve’s free throws at 90-84.

The team as a whole scored 30 of 65 field goals (46 percent), 11 of 28 three pointers (39 percent), and had 15 assists. They made 19 of 22 free throws and had 37 rebounds.

Schutte and Smith were the leading scorers with 34 and 16 points respectively, Smith taking home the most rebounds at 11 and each getting the most assists at four.

The basketball team now has a GPAC record of 15-5. Their next game is another home game in Friedrich Arena against the Dordt University Defenders at 8 p.m. on Feb. 28, their first GPAC quarterfinals match.

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