Nebraska Wesleyan picked up a 70-55 men’s basketball win over Concordia on Wednesday evening in Seward. The Prairie Wolves improved to 9-15 overall and 5-12 in conference play. It was a disappointing loss for Concordia, as the Bulldogs are battling for a higher seed in the upcoming GPAC Tournament. Concordia slipped to 16-11 overall and 10-7 in the GPAC with the loss. The Bulldogs are now fifth in the conference standings with one game remaining in the regular season.
Concordia led by as many as four on multiple occasions in the first half, but offensive struggles caught up with the Bulldogs as the half progressed. A late 12-4 run over the final few minutes of the first half gave the visiting Prairie Wolves a 35-27 halftime lead. Concordia was 12-of-28 overall from the field but just 2-of-11 from beyond the arc in the opening half of play.
Wesleyan maintained the lead throughout the second half. Concordia got as close as four, but NWU continued to have answers. The Prairie Wolves reclaimed a double-digit lead (57-47) with just under five minutes remaining in the contest. Nebraska Wesleyan led by as many as 16 down the stretch and settled for the 70-55 win.
Points were tough to come by, as Concordia struggled from the field throughout the contest. The Bulldogs turned it over 12 times and finished 22-of-56 from the field for 39.3 percent. Concordia also struggled from deep and at the foul line, connecting on just 5-of-18 (27.8 percent) 3-point attempts and 6-of-12 free throws. Wesleyan also held a 37-35 rebounding advantage.
Nebraska Wesleyan was 29-of-61 (47.5 percent) overall and 4-of-10 from behind the arc in the win. The Prairie Wolves broke down Concordia’s press and scored several easy baskets in transition late in the game. Nick Dinan and Mitch Liberty poured in 13 points apiece for NWU. Dinan also added a game-high five assists for the Prairie Wolves.
Porter Birtell (Madison, Neb.) scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Concordia in a losing effort. Tyler Byrd (Bennington, Neb.) added 15 points and four assists, while Sam Huebner (Aurora, Colo.) pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs. Huebner, Ryan Shrum (Allen, Texas) and Andy Banahan (Steele City, Neb.) played in their final regular season home games for the Bulldogs.
Concordia travels to Mount Marty College on Saturday to conclude the regular season.