SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Freshman Clay Reimers put forth a superstar effort in another GPAC pulse pounder for the Concordia University men’s basketball team. Still alive for another conference regular-season title, host and 18th-ranked Briar Cliff made the plays in crunch time and dealt the Bulldogs an 83-74 defeat on Saturday afternoon.
The loss snapped a six-game win streak for fourth-year head coach Ben Limback’s squad, which dropped to 18-9 overall and to 7-8 in conference play.
“I’m proud of our guys for the intensity and the effort,” Limback said. “Both teams were playing hard and I thought they executed better than we did. We had too many mistakes offensively. It was a well fought game between two good teams.”
Reimers is coming of age. He posted a double-double, going for career high of 22 points and 10 rebounds. He even showed the confidence to rise up and bury a trey in the final minute-and-a-half when his team badly needed a bucket. At that point, Concordia trailed, 76-72.
However, the Bulldogs missed their final four shot attempts of the game and Briar Cliff (22-6, 12-4 GPAC) salted the game away by making 7-of-8 free threw shots down the stretch. Concordia had been unable to keep up with a Charger team that shot 61.5 percent (16-for-26) from the floor in the second half and has now won 14 of its last 16 games.
Briar Cliff, led by 17 points off the bench from Erich Erdman, had come off a 106-80 blowout win over Dakota Wesleyan. This one was a nailbiter. The Bulldogs trailed 67-57 with under five minutes to play, but showed their mettle by going on a 10-1 run that got them within one point (68-67). That spurt was capped by Eli Ziegler’s trey from the left wing. The Chargers answered with a three-point play from Shane Graves and Bryan Forbes later nailed a difficult corner triple moments later to help ward off Concordia.
All in all, it was a solid road effort from the Bulldogs. With Reimers blossoming, Concordia is a dangerous team. The Lincoln native is averaging 15.5 points over the past four games.
“I thought he did some good things defensively that maybe went unnoticed,” Limback said of Reimers. “They had a lot of momentum and Clay comes down and hits a big three. That’s something that he needed to do in that situation.”
Chandler Folkerts just missed a double-double, registering 13 points and nine rebounds. Ziegler amassed 18 points while making 3-of-7 shots from long range. The biggest negative was a minus-12 turnover margin (21-9) for Concordia, which shot a sizzling 54.3 percent (25-for-46) from the field.
Hot second half shooting lifted Briar Cliff to 50.8 percent shooting for the contest. Erdman was joined in double figures by teammates Graves (16), Forbes (15) and Blake Wiltgen (12). They powered the Chargers to victory on senior day in Sioux City.
The weekend grind continues on Sunday when the Bulldogs venture to the Corn Palace to challenge seventh-ranked Dakota Wesleyan (21-7, 12-4 GPAC) in a makeup contest. Concordia will attempt to pull off a season sweep of the Tigers. This season’s first meeting went in favor of the Bulldogs, 95-79, inside Walz Arena on Dec. 3.