SEWARD, Neb. – Despite more shooting struggles on Saturday afternoon (Dec. 8), the Concordia University men’s basketball team needed just one more stop to secure a victory. Stunned silence came over Walz Arena when Colby Johnson’s buzzer-beating trey found the bottom of the net and lifted Mount Marty to a 70-69 victory.
Sixth-year head coach Ben Limback’s squad fell for the fourth time in a row within conference play. The Bulldogs have slipped to 7-6 overall and to 1-6 in the GPAC.
It appeared that Concordia might just eke this one out after having rallied back from a six-point deficit in the second half. Ryan Holt curled in a triple that provided the Bulldogs a 66-65 lead with 32.8 seconds left. After Johnson tied the game, 67-67, on a driving layup, the Lancers committed what could have been a crushing foul with :5.1 left. Carter Kent sank two free throws to make it 69-67 and set the stage for the fateful shot.
Concordia brought pressure in the backcourt, but Johnson was able to allude Kent and then rise up over him for the game winner. Johnson burned the Bulldogs for 21 points (8-for-16 from the field), seven rebounds and five assists.
It was a bitter end for a Concordia team that continued to clang shots from the perimeter. The Bulldogs started 2-for-20 from 3-point range before finally heating up down the stretch. Junior point guard Brevin Sloup carried Concordia at times during the second half when he notched 17 of his game high 24 points. Sloup made 9-of-15 attempts from the floor and dished out four assists to go against just one turnover.
There will be much better weeks ahead for Tanner Shuck, who went just 5-for-16 from the floor in Wednesday’s loss at Doane before going 3-for-14 on Saturday. Shuck did manage to nail a couple of key treys in the final five minutes while posting 14 points. Chuol Biel (nine points, 11 rebounds) just missed a double-double.
The victory was another sign of progress for head coach Cody Schilling’s program. Mount Marty (4-9, 2-6 GPAC) also owns a conference win over Midland. One of the surprise stars on this particular day was Jaron Zwagerman, who entered the weekend averaging 2.8 points per game. He put up 21 inside Walz while stroking three of the team’s six 3-point field goals. He was a major reason why the Lancers recovered after misfiring on their first 11 shots from the floor.
The shooting percentages were not pretty on either side. Mount Marty went 26-for-65 (.400) from the field while the Bulldogs shot 23-for-58 (.397). Both teams took care of the basketball. Concordia turned it over 10 times compared to six by the Lancers.
With finals week upcoming, the Bulldogs will break until next Saturday (Dec. 15)’s clash with Dakota Wesleyan (9-3, 5-3 GPAC) inside the Corn Palace. The Tigers swept last season’s two regular-season meetings. Concordia’s most recent win in Mitchell, S.D., was a classic 109-106 overtime battle on Feb. 12, 2017.