Schutte, Bennett catch fire in defeat at hands of No. 20 Morningside

By Jacob Knabel on Jan. 20, 2023 in Men's Basketball

SEWARD, Neb. – Brad Bennett and Noah Schutte attempted to play the role of heroes in spearheading a comeback from 15 points down. It wasn’t quite enough though as the Concordia University Men’s Basketball team struggled to shoot from the perimeter and didn’t come through with enough of the hustle plays that Coach Ben Limback was looking for on Thursday (Jan. 19). No. 20 Morningside managed to fend off the Bulldogs, 76-71, inside Friedrich Arena. The Mustangs swept the two regular season meetings.

Limback’s squad has dropped back-to-back contests while up against the two highest-rated teams in the GPAC. Concordia (11-8, 7-6 GPAC) fought back valiantly from large deficits in both instances.

“That’s a good basketball team we just played,” Limback said. “I felt like we didn’t have enough consistent toughness plays. There were little things where we didn’t get a rebound in an important moment, turned it over or gave up a transition bucket. We gave up too many points off turnovers. I thought we guarded okay. When it’s all said and done, we cut it to two and made a good run. I just felt like we didn’t have enough of those toughness plays throughout the game.”

Reminiscent of the rally last weekend in Jamestown, it was too little and too late. The loss came despite herculean second half efforts from both Bennett and Schutte. The Laurel-Concord-Coleridge High School product Schutte went off for 20 of his 27 points during the final 20 minutes while Bennett produced 17 of his 24 points after halftime. Schutte and Bennett went back-to-back on 3-point field goals as part of an 11-2 run that got the Bulldogs within two (71-69) with just over a minute remaining. Concordia proceeded to come up empty on its next two possessions – and that was that.

The GPAC leading Mustangs (15-3, 9-2 GPAC) led virtually the entire way on the strength of a double-double from Ely Doble (17 points and 10 rebounds) and double-figure scoring totals from Joey Skoff (16), Jack Dotzler (13), Aidan Vanderloo (13) and Dylan Johnson (11). Morningside overcame a 45-36 disadvantage on the boards while shooting 41.3 percent (26-for-63) from the floor. The Mustangs committed only eight turnovers. Their largest lead rested at 43-28 early in the second half.

Schutte grabbed 10 rebounds (five offensive) in a double-double outing. Gage Smith also filled the stat sheet with 13 points, 13 rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots. Smith scored the bucket that put Concordia within two late in the contest. Bennett added nine rebounds and two steals to his stat line. The Bulldogs could have perhaps used a little more balance, but Schutte and Bennett proved capable of carrying the load.

Said Limback, “They have the ability. I thought Noah was really good in the second half. He was a lot more aggressive and played stronger. Brad just makes those sneaky tough plays, and he defends. He just does a lot of things for us that we need. Those guys had great individual games, but we just need more.”

The Bulldogs are in the midst of a five-games-in-10-days stretch that will continue on Saturday with a road trip to Northwestern (14-5, 7-4 GPAC). Tipoff from the Bultman Center in Orange City, Iowa, is set for 3:45 p.m. Concordia will be aiming for a season sweep of the Red Raiders, a foe it defeated by a score of 81-55 in Seward on Dec. 3. The Bulldogs have won seven of the past eight meetings with Northwestern.