Dawgs experience rough road trip in Orange City

By Jacob Knabel on Jan. 21, 2023 in Men's Basketball

ORANGE CITY, Iowa – It felt like a long afternoon in Orange City, Iowa, for the Concordia University Men’s Basketball team. The Bulldogs fell behind by as many as 26 points and struggled to a 79-65 loss to Northwestern on Saturday (Jan. 21). Less than seven minutes into action, Concordia already faced a double-digit deficit and didn’t have enough to make it interesting as it did while rallying in recent deficits that came against No. 14 Jamestown and No. 20 Morningside.

A number of factors have made for some adverse conditions this January for Head Coach Ben Limback’s squad. A three-game skid has left the Bulldogs at 11-9 overall (7-7 GPAC).

“The first half we didn't shoot well and I felt like it affected our defensive effort,” Limback said. “The majority of the game, other than maybe the last 10 minutes, we were on our heels. They were the aggressor. We really didn't do much to make them feel uncomfortable. They got in a rhythm. On the road, you can't allow teams to get comfortable. It just snowballed. The last couple games we were able to come back and make it interesting, but this was too much.”

The result on Saturday was a complete reversal of the 81-55 decision Concordia took from the Red Raiders at home on Dec. 3. Dillon Carlson (game high 22 points) and company got revenge while draining seven of their first 12 shots from beyond the arc. Uncharacteristically, the Bulldogs allowed Northwestern to shoot 53.3 percent (32-for-60) for the game. Concordia fell way behind while shooting only 34.5 percent in the first half and 43.1 percent (25-for-58) on the day.

There wasn’t much the Bulldogs were able to hang their hats on. They were even outnumbered on the boards, 37-30, a category they have typically dominated. Noah Schutte paced the team with 12 points and seven rebounds as Concordia’s lone double-figure scorer. Gage Smith produced nine points, six rebounds and five assists. There were six other Bulldogs that tallied at least five points as Limback got a long look at the bench: Zac Kulus (eight), Garrett Seagren (eight), Kelly Vyhnalek (seven), Jaxon Weyand (seven), Payson Gillespie (six) and Logan Wilson (five).

In addition to Carlson’s 22, the Red Raiders (15-5, 8-4 GPAC) got 17 points from Grant DeMeulenaere and 16 from Matt Onken. The trio of Carlson, DeMeulenaere and Conner Geddes combined to go 10-for-21 from 3-point range. Northwestern has won eight of its last nine outings while finding a groove in the absence of All-American Alex Van Kalsbeek, who suffered a season ending injury.

Limback knows his team will get after it again in practice on Monday. Said Limback, “We have guys that work hard in practice. It's about having production when the lights come on and having attention to detail. I like our young guys. Jaxon Weyand and Zac Kulus got some opportunities today. We were trying to see some different lineups. We're at a point now where we have to toughen up and strengthen an identity. We were guarding teams for the most part, but today we didn't do that. The only bright spot we took away is that we have three home games next week. Northwestern was the better team for sure today.”

A jampacked week at home is coming up as the Bulldogs will welcome Hastings (13-7, 6-6 GPAC) to Friedrich Arena for a 7:45 p.m. CT tipoff. Once that game is in the books, focus will shift to the 70th Concordia Invitational Tournament set for Jan. 27-28. As for the matchup with the Broncos, Concordia will try to settle the score in response to the 78-60 loss it endured at Hastings on Dec. 10.