Hot perimeter shooting propels Concordia back into win column

By Jacob Knabel on Dec. 15, 2022 in Men's Basketball

SEWARD, Neb. – This looked like Bulldog Basketball. Concordia netted 9-of-12 treys to open the game, built an 18-point lead and then coasted to a 74-61 victory over Doane inside Friedrich Arena on Thursday (Dec. 15). Noah Schutte could not be cooled off in the first half and then Tristan Smith made the big buckets to stamp out a potential Tiger comeback in the second half.

Head Coach Ben Limback’s squad was locked in from the tipoff after it let one get away on the road this past weekend. The Bulldogs jumped to 9-3 overall (6-3 GPAC).

“It was a great start to the game,” Limback said. “We talked about that after a tough one (at Hastings) and bouncing back. I could tell in pregame warmups that we were locked in and ready to go. We knew Doane wasn’t going to go away. They have tough kids, and they’ve been in that situation before. We kept grinding – I thought we weathered a couple runs in the first half. It always helps when you shoot the three well.”

Doane knocked in the first points of the game on a triple before Concordia went on a 14-0 run that set the tone for the evening. During that splurge, Schutte poured in three treys and Gage Smith capped it with one of his own. Schutte was 4-for-4 from long range when he hit another perimeter jumper at the 3:26 mark of the first half to make it a 42-24 lead. The Tigers (7-6, 4-3 GPAC) did make a run at it, but they never got any closer than 10.

Every time Doane threatened to make things interesting in the second half, Tristan Smith had an answer. Twelve of his game high 21 points came over the final 20 minutes. He delivered a dagger at the 4:24 mark with a trey to push the lead to 68-55. With just over a minute remaining, AJ Watson fluttered in three more for good measure. Concordia had answered the bell against a Tiger squad that owns a win at Jamestown to its credit.

What did Limback see from his team down the stretch? “Toughness,” Limback replied. “Gage Smith did a pretty good job on their big guy and we forced some turnovers, which is key. Tristan hit a big three in a big moment. Noah Schutte in the first half got in the flow. Putting it away and not having any drama at the end is important. Now we can make sure we get rest and get healthy.”

The Bulldogs wound up 16-for-31 (.516) from beyond the arc. Tristan Smith added nine rebounds to go with his 21 points. Schutte finished with 19 points (5-for-7 from beyond the arc) and five rebounds and Watson chipped in 14 points and eight assists. Gage Smith posted nine points and 11 rebounds while Brad Bennett added six points off the bench.

Concordia wasn’t about to drop back-to-back games to in-state rivals. Said Watson, “Us being together and playing together was the mentality we had coming into this game. As fast as we play, it was about slowing down our minds and making sure whatever we do, we do it together. Our mentality coming in was just playing Bulldog Basketball.”

Backcourt standout Brady Timm led Doane with 21 points while Alec Oberhauser and Nick Saiz put up 14 apiece. The Tigers shot a respectable 46.3 percent (25-for-54) from the floor but couldn’t make up the difference in perimeter shooting. Concordia has now won five of the past six meetings with Doane.

The highly anticipated Battle in the Vault game is coming up Tuesday from Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, where the Bulldogs will take on fifth-ranked Oklahoma Wesleyan University (12-1). Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. CT. Tickets remain on sale via One ticket is good for all three games that will be played that day inside PBA.