By Taylor Mueller, Athletic Communications Student Assistant
SEWARD, Neb. – It certainly was not the prettiest win, but head coach Ben Limback will take it.
Despite offensive struggles and seeing a 17 point lead diminish, the Concordia Bulldogs capped off an impressive Cattle Conference Classic weekend with a 62-51 victory over Mayville State.
Just a night removed from a thriller of an upset over 8th ranked Bellevue, the Bulldogs overcame fatigue and an emotional hangover to scrap out a defensive slugfest against the visiting Comets.
“Last night we kind of expected emotionally to be let down there and have weak legs and fatigue set in. Both teams were just gutting it out,” Limback said. “They’re very physical, they’ve got some good size and they disrupted us finishing but we told our guys, I liked how we finished down the stretch and not having a three ball hit today, but to be able to win and take care of business was good. We have a lot to improve on, we really do.”
Neither the Bulldogs nor the Comets were able to establish a strong sense of momentum early on as they traded baskets through the first 12 minutes of the game. Senior Micah Kohlwey put the Bulldogs back in front, however with a two-point bucket to give Concordia a one-point advantage. The Bulldogs used a 15-4 run to close the half and extend their lead to 11 points which they carried into the locker room at the half.
The offensive struggles continued in the second half, however, as the Bulldogs, leading 41-24 at the 15 minute mark of the second half, scored just one point over the next seven and a half minutes. The Comets tied the game at 42 apiece with 7:39 left to play. However, a two-point shot by senior Robby Thomas ended the scoring drought and put the Bulldogs ahead by two points, a lead that they would hold on to and build on for the remainder of the game.
“We were playing our game pretty much for most of the game and then there was one stretch where we kind of let up defensively and we let them back in it,” Thomas said. “We just got back to being aggressive when we started pulling away there. We were going to the free throw line more and we were playing more aggressive on defense and started making some shots and the game just went back our way.”
Thomas led the Bulldogs with 16 points and eight rebounds to go along with a couple assists.
“He had a good game,” Limback said of Thomas. “He had no turnovers tonight, five blocks, rebounds very well, did last night too. He was big for us, played a lot of minutes both games. He’s a great athlete.”
Junior Chandler Folkerts added 14 points a five boards for the Bulldogs while senior Jamie Pearson contributed 18 points and five assists.
Shooting just 38 percent from the field and going only 4-11 from the three point line, the Bulldogs relied on their defense to come through and make crucial stops down the road.
“I think it’s pretty evident that we’ve improved defensively,” Thomas said. “They were uncomfortable pretty much all night on offense and we know that if we’re not scoring we can get stops and effect the game defensively too.”
Concordia will take a week to prepare for their upcoming match against Kansas Wesleyan University on Sat. Nov. 14 at 3:00 p.m. at Walz Arena in Seward.