FOREST CITY, Iowa – A nonconference trip to Forest City, Iowa, allowed the 23rd-ranked Concordia Men’s Basketball team to work off those holiday meals and put behind the first loss of the season. White hot shooting from Brad Bennett highlighted the 103-61 late afternoon victory over Waldorf University on Saturday (Nov. 26). Bennett produced 15 of his game high 25 points during the second half runaway. As a team, the Bulldogs knocked down 15 treys.
Head Coach Ben Limback’s squad moved to 6-1 overall while staying perfect outside of league play (3-0). Concordia has beaten Waldorf, a North Star Athletic Association member, in back-to-back seasons.
“Coming into this game, it is a tough one because it’s sandwiched between conference games and right after Thanksgiving,” Limback said. “You have a little rust you have to shake off. I thought seeing us in warmups, our approach was good. The first half we gave up too many second-chance points and didn’t rebound well enough. Second half, we did a much better job converting our defense into offense.”
The Warriors (3-5) stayed within a single-digit margin for most of the first half and trailed 44-34 at the break. That was as good as it was going to get for Waldorf, which allowed the Bulldogs to shoot 54.9 percent (39-for-71) from the floor. The Elkhorn, Neb., native Bennett nearly matched the eight 3-point field goals he made earlier this season versus Ottawa University (Kan.) as he buried seven long balls on Saturday. Bennett dialed up from long distance at the 19:21, 17:40, 14:24, 13:46 and 12:44 marks of the second half. By the final Bennett triple, Concordia had constructed an insurmountable 69-42 lead.
That kind of perimeter shooting makes the Bulldogs an exceptionally tough team to handle. As usual, the frontcourt was stellar with Noah Schutte (19), Tristan Smith (18) and Gage Smith (12) each scoring in double figures. Tristan also dished out five assists and led the charge during the first half. Older brother Gage added 11 rebounds and seven assists to his stat line. Off the bench, freshman Zac Kulus made the most of five minutes of action as he went 3-for-4 from long range and notched nine points. Twelve Bulldogs registered in the scoring column.
“We did a really good job in the second half of getting in transition and also getting paint touches before we took threes,” Limback said. “That’s when we find our rhythm. Brad Bennett got loose on some kickouts and some hustle plays. He certainly had a great overall game. When you have 29 assists and only four turnovers, you’re making those extra passes like we’ve been talking about. When you move it like that, guys can start to get into a rhythm.”
The combination of prolific shooting and clean passing (only four turnovers) was more than enough to get the job done. Waldorf did manage to outrebound Concordia, 34-32. The top scorer for the Warriors was Jevon Taylor (10 points and eight rebounds). Waldorf has dropped four in a row since its 3-1 start.
The Bulldogs will get back to conference play on Wednesday with a trip to Sioux City, Iowa, for a 7:45 p.m. CT tipoff with Morningside (6-1, 2-1 GPAC). Concordia took two of three meetings last season with the Mustangs, who saw their 2021-22 season end with a loss in Seward in the GPAC quarterfinals. Morningside has already defeated two ranked foes outside of conference play this season.