Tyler Byrd hit a jumper as time expired to lift Concordia University to a 71-70 men’s basketball win over Hastings College on Wednesday evening. The Bulldogs trailed by as many as 14 in the opening half but rallied for the exciting win. The win moved the Bulldogs to 14-9 overall and 8-5 in conference play. Hastings dropped to 9-15 overall and 5-9 in the GPAC.
There were several ties and lead changes in the opening minutes of the first half. With the game tied 12-12 with just over 10 minutes remaining in the half, Hastings used a 14-0 run to grab a 26-12 lead with six minutes remaining. Concordia finished the half on a 14-7 run, and the Broncos held a 33-26 lead at halftime.
Hastings College scored the opening two baskets in the second half to reclaim a double digit lead at 37-26. However, Concordia hung around and managed to stay within striking distance. The Bulldogs chipped away and took a 50-48 lead with just over 10 minutes to play in regulation.
The teams went back and forth down the stretch. Neither team led by more than three during the final 10 minutes of the game. Hastings took a 64-62 lead on a jumper by Derek Flecher with 2:30 remaining. A minute later, Concordia tied the score at 64-64 on a jumper by Brent Houchin (Bruning, Neb.).
With just 45 seconds left in regulation, Brady Lollman scored to give the Broncos a 68-66 advantage. On Concordia’s next possession, Sam Huebner (Aurora, Colo.) scored and was fouled on the play. His made free throw put Concordia on top by the score of 69-68 with 25 seconds remaining.
With less than 10 seconds remaining, Fletcher was fouled and made both free throws to give Hastings a 70-69 advantage. Charles Dunbar (Florissant, Mo.) missed a jumper in the closing seconds, but Hastings was unable to secure the rebound. Concordia got the ball back with just over a second remaining. Byrd (Bennington, Neb.) caught the inbound pass and hit a jumper from the head of the key as time expired to secure the exciting 71-70 victory for the Bulldogs.
Concordia was 26-of-51 from the field for 51 percent. The Bulldogs connected on 15-of-25 shots in the second half for 60 percent. Concordia was 6-of-16 (37.5 percent) from deep and 13-of-19 (68.4 percent) from the charity stripe.
Porter Birtell (Madison, Neb.) had a big night for the Bulldogs in the win. Birtell scored a game-high 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the field. He also added a team-best 11 rebounds. Ryan Shrum scored 14 points, and Byrd added 12 and three assists. Shrum scored 12 of his 14 points, while Byrd scored all 12 of his points in the second half. Dunbar added nine points and a game-high five assists for the Bulldogs.
Hastings was 25-of-61 (41 percent) from the field overall, 8-of-23 (34.8 percent) from deep and 12-of-15 (80 percent) at the foul line. The Broncos held a 35-30 rebounding advantage and grabbed 14 offensive rebounds on the night.
Fletcher scored 23 points to lead the way for the Broncos. Donovan Shultz added 18 points and 12 boards.
Concordia hosts Sioux Falls on Saturday. Tip is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Health, Human Performance and Athletic Center.