NORTH NEWTON, Kan. – Adam Arciniega’s driving, game-winning bank shot with :4.5 remaining lifted host Bethel College to a 67-65 victory over the Concordia University men’s basketball team in a game played in North Newton, Kan., on Saturday night. The Bulldogs let a late 65-62 lead slip away and finished its two-game, season-opening Kansas trip at 1-1.
Head coach Ben Limback’s squad failed to carry over its impressive offensive second half in a come-from-behind win at Kansas Wesleyan a night earlier. The Threshers of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference held the Bulldogs to a 32.8 shooting percentage of Saturday.
“We had our chances. We missed a lot of finishes inside,” Limback said. “We expect some nights that we’re not going to shoot it well, but we really struggled to finish for whatever reason. The missed bunnies and 17 turnovers cost us. We made some bad decisions and had very poor movement without the ball.”
After Arciniega’s late bucket, the Bulldogs had once last chance. Limback called for timeout to set up a play. The final horn sounded before senior Joel Haywood could fire up a potential game-winning trey.
According to Limback, Concordia may have been too reliant upon budding junior Robby Thomas, who notched his second-straight double-double by registering 19 points and 13 rebounds. He also added another four rejections. He teamed with Chandler Folkerts, who equaled Thomas with 19 points and 13 boards, to give Concordia a solid 1-2 punch on the inside.
Folkerts and Thomas combined to shoot 12-for-24 from the field. The rest of the team went 9-for-40 as part of a frustrating offensive night.
“I thought we could have done more inside,” Limback said. “Chandler had a solid game but I think even he would tell you that he left some points out there. We needed some others to step up and score. I thought Rudy (Knight) gave us a little spark off the bench. We just didn’t see enough consistency as a team.”
Arciniega emerged as the star of the night. He poured in 27 points, hauled in nine rebounds and dropped six dimes in addition to sinking the back-breaking shot in the final seconds. Said Limback, “Their guy had a tremendous game.”
In a contest that was nip and tuck throughout, Concordia was unable to duplicate its long-range assault from the night before. The Bulldogs went 4-for-17 from beyond the arc. Thomas and Eli Ziegler knocked down two 3-point field goals apiece.
The key moving forward will be to find consistent compliments to Thomas.
“This one really hurt,” Limback said. “We want to perform better and this was a game we felt like we should have won. I walked into the locker room after the game and our guys had their heads up. They’re hungry to work and know we need to improve. We need to get more guys contributing.”
The Bulldogs will host their home opener on Friday, Nov. 7 as part of the two-day, 15th annual Cattle Classic. First up is in-state Grace University at 7 p.m. on Friday.