SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University men’s basketball team stumbled out of the gates offensively, digging a hole that it eventually burrowed out of before ultimately falling at home. Visiting Doane went on a decisive 13-5 late run on Wednesday night en route to a 71-66 victory over the Bulldogs inside Walz Arena.
Second-year head coach Ben Limback’s squad – now 2-4 at home and 3-1 away from Walz – dropped back to .500 overall (5-5) and 2-3 in GPAC action. Limback says that shot selection doomed the Bulldogs against the rival Tigers.
“We took the lead and I thought we had some momentum there,” Limback said. “But then we didn’t really understand what was giving us that momentum. We really took a lot of bad shots tonight. Down the stretch we needed to go inside to Chandler in the post and get to the free throw line. We didn’t have a lot of turnovers, but a bad shot is just like a turnover.”
Trailing 24-10, the Bulldogs went on a 12-0 spurt capped by a Robby Thomas triple from the right corner. After a slow start, Thomas ignited on the way to his GPAC-leading fourth double-double of the season (18 points and 12 rebounds in addition to four blocks).
In the end, the clutch shooting of Trevor Cyboron (16 points, 3-for-4 from beyond the arc) and the hustle of Michael Herrmann (12 rebounds) proved too much to overcome. With Doane (7-6, 2-3 GPAC) clinging to a 56-54 lead, Cyboron drilled a triple and then a shot in the lane to make it a seven-point Tiger advantage heading into the final three-and-a-half minutes.
Behind suddenly hot 3-point shooting, Concordia made Doane earn the win in the closing minute. The Bulldogs got one field goal apiece from Joel Haywood, Reilly Carew and Eli Ziegler in the final 31 seconds, but Doane’s 6-for-8 free throw shooting during that stretch was enough to secure its seventh victory of the campaign.
Concordia finally took its first lead of the night when Haywood splashed in a trey at the 13:28 mark of the second half, lifting the Bulldogs to a 42-41 advantage. The largest Concordia lead of the night was just two – coming after Ziegler knocked home a three with 10:55 left in the game.
In an early season of ups and downs, Concordia has dropped three of its last four at home, but won three of four on the road.
“I think the guys are excited to play in front of the home fans and on the home court,” Limback said. “Tonight we just didn’t play tough. We did some things that we don’t normally do. I expected more fight out of us tonight and we just didn’t have it.”
Folkerts (11 points) and Haywood (10 points) joined Thomas in double figures. Haywood added four assists for a Bulldog team that shot 38.3 percent compared to 41.1 percent by Doane. Both teams took care of the ball with Doane turning it over eight times to Concordia’s seven miscues.
The Bulldogs will attempt to keep their perfect GPAC road mark (2-0) intact when they take on Dordt (8-4, 1-3 GPAC) in Sioux Center, Iowa, at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Concordia has dropped each of the last eight meetings with the Defenders, who have reached the national tournament three years running.