SEWARD, Neb. – In a crucial time heading through the final stretch of the regular season, the Concordia men’s basketball team grabbed a big win over Midland University. The Bulldogs outscored the Warriors 91-85 on Wednesday night inside Walz Arena.
The ‘Dogs improve to 17-10 overall and 9-9 in the GPAC. The 17wins so far this season are the most since the 2009-10 season when the squad went 18-12. The Warriors fall to 13-12 overall and 10-7 in the conference.
Head coach Ben Limback said, “We battled. Down the stretch we made key free throws. I like how things went offensively…Defensively, I thought our zone was great. That’s how you have to win games. We had some guys really step up tonight and I’m proud of them.”
As a team, Concordia shot a sizzling 56.7 percent (34-60) from the field. The team went 17-for-19 from the charity stripe, compiling an 89.5 percentage. Midland shot .532 (33-62) from the field and .609 from the free throw line. Concordia gave up just four turnovers and blocked five Warrior shots. The ‘Dogs were outrebounded, 33-29.
Despite a tough matchup inside with Midland’s Alex Starkel, Chandler Folkerts dumped in 32 points and grabbed eight rebounds. The junior led all players in both categories. Jamie Pearson scored 22 points and dished out four assists. Robby Thomas continues to grow in the blocks column, registering three in tonight’s contest. The senior also scored 13 points and had five boards.
“That was a fun battle to watch between him (Folkerts) and Starkel,” Limback said. “Chandler finishes and makes those shots that a lot of guys can’t and he finishes at different angles. His ability to shoot free throws is something else he does well.”
The Bulldogs led throughout the majority of the first half but never by more than seven. With 4:19 left until the halftime break, Midland took the lead and kept it the rest of the half. The Warriors scored off one of the few Bulldogs turnovers going into the break to take a three point lead.
Soon into the second stanza, Concordia regained its lead. Pearson scored in the paint to give the team a one point advantage. The score got knotted up multiple times during the half. Not until the final minutes were the Bulldogs ahead by a somewhat comfortable margin. After Micah Kohlwey pick pocketed a Warrior, Pearson scored a 3-pointer to put the team up by seven. Midland threatened Concordia’s lead after layups from Trevor Bryant and Clayton Shepard but the Bulldogs sank free throws to seal the win.
Folkerts said, “The guys found me throughout the game. It felt constant. They set a lot of screens inside for me and it kept opening up…They (Midland) kept hitting us inside with everything they had. We had a lot of help from the bench when Robby got in foul trouble. We just kept fighting to keep the ball out of there and not letting them even catch it. When they did, we did the right things going down the stretch.”
The Concordia men’s basketball team will play its final regular season home contest this Saturday. The Bulldogs are set to face Northwestern College (14-12, 8-9 GPAC) with tipoff slated for 4 p.m. The seniors will be recognized five minutes prior to the start time.