Nine-game win streak snapped in nail-biter at Dordt

By Jacob Knabel on Feb. 17, 2024 in Men's Basketball

SIOUX CENTER, Iowa – For the past month, the 21st-ranked Concordia University Men’s Basketball team found a way to win every close game in its path. It wasn’t to be on the road on Saturday (Feb. 17) evening as the Bulldogs faltered down the stretch at Dordt and fell, 79-73. The host Defenders managed to rally from a 12-0 deficit out of the gate and from a 39-29 halftime disadvantage.

Head Coach Ben Limback’s squad had not suffered a defeat since Jan. 17 while cracking the NAIA coaches’ top 25 for the first time this season. Concordia (20-6, 13-5 GPAC) now stands one game behind Hastings in the race for the GPAC regular season title.

“They score the most points in the league for a reason, and they’re good at home,” Limback said. “Tip your hat to them. They certainly outplayed us in the second half. We gave up 50 in the second half. I felt like the big momentum plays were the difference. We didn’t shoot well, which happens. We gave up a bunch of offensive rebounds, where we didn’t go hard enough. Those are the things that make the difference in a game like this.”

Dordt (18-8, 11-7 GPAC) shook off a three-game skid that included back-to-back home defeats. The Defenders overtook the Bulldogs for good at the 8:48 mark when Lucas Lorenzen splashed in a trey, making it 62-60. For good measure, Lorenzen added a back-breaking trey at the 4:36 mark (71-65 lead) and put home two more with 2:45 to play as part of his game-high 21-point outing. After Dordt shot only 29.4 percent (10-for-34) in the first half, it sprung to life by shooting 50 percent (19-for-38) over the final 20 minutes.

While Concordia’s defensive play was leaky, it also wasn’t its typically efficient self on the offensive end. The Bulldogs shot only 40.7 percent (11-for-27) from the field in the second half and also got outrebounded, 41-38. The Defenders’ 11th offensive rebound of the contest came as they led 77-73 in the final half minute and essentially put the game on ice.

Noah Schutte attempted to lead a late rally as he turned in several impressive finishes around the rim and totaled 17 points. Tristan Smith posted 16 points and 13 rebounds for his 11th double-double of the season. Freshman Hayden Frank starred off the bench with 17 points on 7-for-10 shooting in 23 minutes. In addition, Jaxon Stueve chipped in with eight points and Brad Bennett recorded seven. Concordia went 8-for-28 (.286) from 3-point range and 15-for-19 (.789) from the foul line.

Lorenzen was joined by four of his teammates in double figures: Bryce Coppock (20), Connor Millikan (14) and Jackson Louscher (13). Dordt is sitting in fifth place in the league standings heading into the regular season’s final week.

Many scenarios are still in play in terms of the GPAC championship race. Said Limback, “Nothing’s going to be easy. We’re going to be at home. They’re going to be wanting to win the league title. We want to win the league title. We have to be sharper. We have to rebound better. We get to be at home for the last couple of games with a chance to win the league.”

A showdown is coming Wednesday when the Bulldogs will welcome first-place Hastings (19-7, 14-4 GPAC) for a rematch inside Friedrich Arena. Tipoff is set for 7:45 p.m. CT. In this season’s first meeting, the Broncos edged Concordia, 79-78, with the help of a free throw in the final seconds. Two wins next week for the Bulldogs would guarantee them at least a share of the GPAC regular season title. Morningside (13-5) and Northwestern (13-5) are also right in the mix.