Photo description: Junior Bradley Bennett moves to dodge an opponent.
Photo credit: Courtney Wright
The Concordia men’s basketball team won their game against the Northwestern College Red Raiders this Saturday in Friedrich Arena with a final score of 84-81, beating a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics-ranked team for the second time in a row while not in the ranks themselves.
The game had an amazing start for the Bulldogs, securing the tipoff for junior Bradley Bennett’s first of many three-pointers in the first half.
CUNE ran away with the game, scoreboard in tow, rattling off a series of jump shots and good layups to raise the stakes by a 13-point lead.
Trying to cut down on the CUNE lead, Northwestern attempted a few of their own three-point shots, finally getting one in over the defense after losing the ball to jump shot possession. Putting up several long shots that couldn’t make it in the hoop, the Bulldogs let the rug get pulled out from under them defensively and allowed for a subsequent shredding of the lead down to a two-point gap.
Concordia rebounded quickly, with Bennet and junior Noah Schutte bringing the lead back with a nine-point combo to bring the score to 35-27. Heroic as their run of points was, it was cut down once again by a relentless Northwestern offense. The Red Raiders managed to take the lead for themselves at 40-41 with three minutes in the half. Their speed, combined with great ball handling, kept the Bulldogs a few steps behind them as they put up layup after layup.
A tug-of-war for the lead marked the end of the first half, Concordia nearly taking back the lead with a double rebound and a narrow miss by Schutte.
Following the first half was a celebration of 100 years of Bulldog men’s basketball; a good number of CUNE basketball alums made a showing for the event.
Post celebration, the current Bulldogs team refused to let the lead out of sight, reigniting the tug-of-war battle with good drives from both sides.
The Northwestern team took advantage of the Bulldogs’ lack of physicality, keeping the race close. This lasted until Concordia pulled off a double 3-pointer and stopped a Northwestern layup. Three fouls also provided an opening for CUNE to pull a little bit ahead.
Neither team could stay ahead for more than a minute, with good jump shots and the occasional deep three from each team tying the score at 71-71 with six minutes left.
With four minutes to go it seemed as if the Bulldogs’ defense could do no wrong. Several quick steals from freshman Lukas Helms and a three from Bennett gave a bit of breathing room for Concordia, making it a three-point game with 20 seconds in the half. Two solid free throws from freshman Hayden Frank sealed the deal, ending the game in CUNE’s favor with a final score of 84-81.
The team as a whole scored 16 of 32 field goals (50 percent), eight of 21 3-pointers (38 percent), and had 21 assists. They made eight of 14 free throws and had 30 rebounds.
Schutte and Bennett were the leading scorers with 25 and 17 points respectively; Schutte took home the most rebounds at eight and Bennett with the most assists at six.
The basketball team now has a Great Plains Athletic Conference record of 10-4. Their next game is another home game in Friedrich Arena against the Dordt University Defenders at 7:45 p.m.