Bulldogs fall in clunker to open GPAC play

By Jacob Knabel on Nov. 13, 2021 in Men's Basketball

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The GPAC opener for the Concordia University Men’s Basketball team is one it will want to quickly flush. The Bulldogs went just 1-for-21 from 3-point range and struggled to the tune of a 65-48 loss at Briar Cliff on Saturday (Nov. 13). As a contrast, the Chargers made eight treys in their home gym, the Newman Flanagan Center.

Head Coach Ben Limback’s squad has tasted defeat for the first time this season and sits at 5-1 overall. The performance fell well below the team’s high standards. Said Limback, “We struggled mightily offensively, had uncharacteristic turnovers and didn’t finish plays. Noah (Schutte) was a bright spot.”

A tight 20-18 game through the first 13 minutes and change gave way to a double-digit halftime lead for Briar Cliff. For the entirety of the second half, the Chargers maintained an advantage of at least eight points in a surprisingly comfortable victory. It’s a challenge to dig out of such a hole when the shots aren’t falling. Briar Cliff shot 45.6 percent (26-for-57) from the floor while Concordia shot 36.7 percent (18-for-49) overall.

Only Schutte (16) and AJ Watson (11) reached double figures in scoring for the Bulldogs. A native of Laurel, Neb., Schutte has made big strides in his second season in the program. He made 6-of-7 shots from the free throw line on Saturday and topped Concordia with seven rebounds. In a rare occurrence, both Carter Kent (eight) and Justin Wiersema (four) were held to single digit scoring outputs. Gage Smith posted a line of five points, six rebounds and three steals.

The star for the Chargers (3-3, 1-0 GPAC) was Jaden Kleinhesselink, who drilled 4-of-5 attempts from long range and led all scorers with 21 points. Kyle Boerhave chipped in with 13 points, Quinn Vesey totaled 11 points and Quiten Vasa (nine points, nine rebounds) fell just shy of a double-double. Not only did Briar Cliff shoot the ball much better than Concordia, it also owned a plus-five turnover margin (17-12).

The 48 points scored by the Bulldogs were easily a season low. Concordia had just come off a 91-90 nail-biter of a win over Peru State College. As for the Chargers, it’s been an up-and-down run outside of league play. Briar Cliff has collected wins over Bellevue University and Indiana University East.

The Bulldogs will have to wait until Wednesday to put this loss behind them. On that day, Concordia will host Midland (5-1, 0-0 GPAC) at 7:45 p.m. CT. The Bulldogs have won each of the last five meetings with the Warriors.