Concordia placed five players in double figures, but Austin Benson and the Doane Tigers proved to be too much for the Bulldogs to handle on Wednesday evening in Seward. The Doane starters accounted for 100 points on the night, and the Tigers picked up a 102-93 GPAC men’s basketball win to improve to 10-12 (5-9 GPAC). Concordia dropped to 9-12 (5-9 GPAC).
The game remained tightly contested through much of the first half, as there were three ties and six lead changes in the opening 20 minutes. The Tigers built a 12-point lead (33-21), however, with less than six minutes to play. Concordia made a run late in the half to cut the Doane lead to seven (41-34) heading into halftime. Both teams were decent from the field in the opening 20 minutes, but free throw shooting proved to be the difference. The Tigers were 11-of-15 at the line, while Concordia made just five free throws in the half.
In the second half, the Bulldogs made multiple runs to stay in the game. Concordia trailed by 10 (63-53) with 12 minutes to play, but a 9-0 Bulldog run cut the Doane lead to one (63-62) with 10 minutes left in the contest. The Tigers responded with a 15-4 run, and a 3-pointer by Jens Scholl gave Doane a 78-66 lead with 6:41 to play.
Concordia didn’t go away, and the Bulldogs pulled within three on two separate occasions down the stretch. Back-to-back layups by Scholl pushed the Tiger lead back to five. He added a free throw for a 3-point play to give the Tigers an 85-79 lead. The Bulldogs pulled back within four on a layup by Charles Dunbar (St. Louis, Mo.), but Doane again had the answer. Bryan Meyer knocked down a 3-pointer to push the Tiger lead back to seven, and Doane pulled away with solid free throw shooting down the stretch.
Both teams shot the ball extremely well from the field. Doane was 30-of-57 overall for 52.6 percent, while Concordia was 34-of-62 for 54.8 percent. Both teams knocked down 12 3-pointers on the night, but Doane was 54.5 percent from deep, hitting 12-of-22 in the win. The Tigers also held a commanding lead at the free throw line. Doane was 30-of-37 for 81.1 percent. Austin Benson had a huge night for the Tigers in the win. He scored 32 points on 10-of-12 shooting from the field overall and 7-of-8 shooting from deep. Scholl added 26 points and nine rebounds, while Josh Riser had 23 points and nine assists. Scholl and Riser combined to go 23-of-26 at the foul line. Meyer also reached double figures with 13.
Dunbar scored a team-best 20 points off the bench for Concordia in the loss. Dunbar also added six rebounds and five assists. Adam Vogt (Syracuse, Neb.) hit six 3-pointers and had 19 points off the bench, while Porter Birtell (Madison, Neb.) and Barrett Braun (Lakeside, Calif.) added 16 points apiece. Tyler Byrd (Bennington, Neb.) chipped in with 12 points and four assists. The Bulldog bench held a 39-2 scoring advantage over the Doane bench.
Concordia travels to the Concordia Invitational Tournament in Chicago on Friday and Saturday.