Balanced Broncos rally for win in Walz

By Jacob Knabel on Jan. 20, 2016 in Men's Basketball

SEWARD, Neb. – For the third-straight outing, the Concordia University men’s basketball team saw a double-digit first half lead melt away as visiting Hastings heated up from deep in the second half. Behind six double-figure scorers, the Broncos earned a regular-season sweep of the Bulldogs with an 84-77 victory inside Walz Arena on Wednesday night.

Not even another monster effort from junior post Chandler Folkerts (27 points, 11 rebounds, four assists) could save Concordia. Third-year head coach Ben Limback’s squad dropped to 11-9 overall and 5-8 in league play.

“Down the stretch they stepped up and made plays and we missed the shots,” Limback said. “We got down six with about a minute-and-a-half left and I didn’t like the body language at the time. Our guys came out of the timeout and got two stops in a row and Jamie (Pearson) had a great look at a three.

“Hastings came in and made some shots down the stretch. You have to give them credit.”

“The Chanimal” did not even need an entire half to extend his double-double streak to six games. He racked up 10 points and 10 boards in the opening 20 minutes. The native of Milford, Neb., then tallied 17 of the team’s 36 points during the second half.

Hastings (13-7, 7-5 GPAC) used an 11-2 run midway through the second half to turn a 57-49 deficit into a 60-59 advantage.  Concordia quickly regained a one-point lead via two Folkerts free throws before the Broncos poured it on again. Jake Hansen, who came off the bench to top Hastings with 14 points, answered with a triple and the Broncos never trailed again.

The visitors absorbed blows from Concordia. Pearson drove for consecutive layups to bring the game even at 72-all with four-and-a-half minutes remaining. Connor Musiel and Caron Blum hit back-to-back treys for the Broncos. Pearson made another bid to tie the score with a late 3-point attempt that clanged out, allowing Hastings to go the other way and drop in a back-breaking layup on the break.

Folkerts is now averaging 23.8 points and 11.2 rebounds per game over the past six outings.

“He’s a tremendous player,” Limback said. “He had a double-double at the half and played a lot of minutes in the second half. He does a great job when he gets it. We have to continue to get him the ball.”

Concordia finished with advantages of 47.7 – 44.8 in shooting percentage and 42-39 on the boards. Robby Thomas (11) and Eli Ziegler (11) joined Folkerts in double figures in scoring. However, Thomas and Pearson were a combined 8-for-28 from the field. On the plus side, Justin Damme gave good effort off the bench, scoring eight points on 4-for-4 shooting in eight minutes.

Hansen went 4-for-8 from 3-point range for a Bronco squad that made 6-for-13 long balls in the second half.

The Bulldogs will travel to Yankton, S.D., on Saturday for a 4 p.m. tipoff at Mount Marty (1-18, 0-11 GPAC). Earlier this season, Concordia defeated the Lancers, 94-79, inside Walz Arena.