Concordia men’s basketball upset Briar Cliff, the team ranked number one in the Great Plains Athletic Conference, 74-73 on a last-second buzzer-beater by Tristan Smith.
Concordia held a 10-point lead for most of the second half. With four minutes left Briar Cliff began to make their comeback, and within two minutes they had the game within two points. The game went back and forth until Kent hit a two-pointer with 10 seconds remaining, giving Concordia the lead and a score of 72-70.
With one second remaining on the clock, Briar Cliff brought the ball to the three-point line and drained a three. This gave them the lead 73-72. After a timeout, senior Carter Kent took the ball and threw it like a football across the entire court. Freshman Tristan Smith leaped over three Briar Cliff players to catch the pass and drop the ball in the basket before even touching the ground. This won Concordia the game 74-73. Ben Limback, coach of the team, reflected on the final timeout, where he wanted to get the ball to his best players for this final play.
“We wanted to get the ball to our two best options at that point and hope they find a way to make a play.” Limback said, “I don’t think I will be able to sleep tonight.”
Before Smith had the game-winning shot, he had three crucial blocks and one steal. Senior Gage Smith led the Bulldogs in points and rebounds with 23 and 17 respectively. However, Smith fouled out of the game with 2:39 left on the clock. Four of the five starters had double-digit point totals. Seniors Carter Kent and Justin Wiersma scored 18 and 11 points, and junior A.J. Watson had 10.
After the game-winning shot, students stormed the court in celebration. Briar Cliff came into the game ranked at the top of the GPAC, while Concordia was ranked number two. Concordia showed heart and the will to play with the top competition.
“I think we showed we are capable of playing with top teams,” Limback said. “Our guys at the end had hope and it was an unbelievable play by all five guys out on the court.”
Concordia now moves to an overall record of 21-6, 14-5 in the GPAC, and has one more game of the regular season, which it will play against Dakota Wesleyan University on Saturday, Feb. 19.