Briar Cliff University pulled away for an 86-74 men’s basketball win over Concordia on Wednesday evening in Seward. The visiting Chargers were 54.5 percent from the field and 55 percent from deep in the victory. With the win, BCU improved to 9-3 overall and 3-2 in conference play. Concordia saw its losing streak move to three games, as the Bulldogs dropped to 4-5 overall and 1-4 in the GPAC.
Concordia jumped out to a quick 12-2 lead in the opening minutes of the contest, but the lead was short lived. Briar Cliff rallied to tie the game at 20-20 with over eight minutes remaining in the half. With the contest tied at 27-27, Briar Cliff closed the half on a 15-4 run to take a 42-31 lead into halftime.
The Chargers shot a sizzling 53.3 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes, connecting on 16-of-30 shots overall and 8-of-12 shots from beyond the arc. Jake Shipley went 4-for-4 from deep and scored 14 points, while Michael Collison chipped in with 10 first half points for the Chargers. Barrett Braun (Lakeside, Calif.) scored 11 points to lead the way for Concordia, who hit 12-of-23 shots in the half for 52.2 percent.
The Bulldogs pulled within nine on multiple occasions in the early stages of the second half. The Chargers had an answer, however, and built their lead to 19 (61-42) on a layup by Collison with less than 12 minutes remaining in the contest. The Bulldogs rallied once again and cut the deficit to eight twice with over two minutes left in regulation. Solid free throw shooting down the stretch secured the 86-74 win for BCU.
BCU continued the solid shooting in the second half, hitting 14-of-25 shots for 56 percent. For the game, Briar Cliff was 30-of-55 overall and 11-of-20 from long range. The Chargers also shot it well from the foul line, hitting 15-of-17 on the night for 88.2 percent. The Chargers held a 35-27 rebounding advantage and dished out 22 assists on their 30 made field goals. Shipley led a balanced scoring attack with 22 points. Collison added 16 points and a team-best eight rebounds, while Taylor Murren and Turner Fahey also reached double figures with 15 and 12 points, respectively.
Concordia cooled off slightly from the field in the second half, connecting on 15-of-34 shots for 44.1 percent. For the game, the Bulldogs were 27-of-57 from the field for 47.4 percent. Concordia was 9-of-24 from deep for 37.5 percent and 11-of-17 at the charity stripe for 64.7 percent. Porter Birtell (Madison, Neb.) had a huge night for the Bulldogs in the loss. The junior post scored 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting from the field. He also added eight rebounds and three steals. Joel Haywood (Lakewood, Colo.) added 12 points and four assists. Braun scored all of his 11 points in the first half, while Beau Smith (McKinney, Texas) added 10 points and a game-high nine boards for the Bulldogs.
Conference play continues for the Bulldogs this weekend at Dakota Wesleyan on December 10. Tip is scheduled for 8 p.m. in Mitchell.