PERU, Neb. – The second half proved to be 20 minutes of frustration for a Concordia University Men’s Basketball team that returned to action after 11-straight days without a game. Wednesday (Dec. 30) night’s clash in Peru, Neb., resulted in a 70-62 victory for Peru State College. The Bobcats dominated the second half (40-21) while protecting their home court, Al Wheeler Activity Center.
This marked the final dip outside of conference play this regular season for Head Coach Ben Limback’s squad. The Bulldogs (10-5, 7-3 GPAC) had not played since their overtime loss at Jamestown on Dec. 18.
“We weren’t hitting threes, in the second half especially, and then I thought we started to force some things,” Limback said. “Defensively they were really good and you know you’re not going to win a lot of games on the road when you don’t score that many. We have to be more efficient and find ways to get easier buckets. That was our challenge at the end of the game – find ways to be tougher when things aren’t going the way you want them to go.”
Concordia did not get much offensive production outside of the dynamic backcourt duo of Carter Kent and Justin Wiersema. They posted 20 points, eight rebounds and four steals apiece with Wiersema also adding three assists. It wasn’t enough to overcome the team’s 8-for-41 (.195) effort from 3-point range. The Bulldogs shot just 24.2 percent (8-for-33) from the floor in the second half and 32.8 percent for the night.
Peru State (7-5) was just a little bit better offensively. Henry Tanksley (21 points) and Amitai Afenjar (18 points, 11 rebounds) did the bulk of the damage for the Heart of America Athletic Conference member. They helped the Bobcats dig out of an 11-point halftime hole. An 18-5 run down the stretch turned a three-point Concordia lead (53-50) into a 10-point advantage (68-58) for Peru State.
Ryan Holt joined Kent and Wiersema in double figures with 11 points. Outside of those three, the rest of the Bulldogs went a combined 4-for-30 from the field. Concordia hopes it knocked some rust off ahead of the second half of the GPAC season.
“We definitely looked like some of us were still on break,” Limback said. “We just weren’t very sharp, but we’ll bounce back. We have a great road challenge coming up. This was a great lesson to learn. We need to have a good practice tomorrow.”
This could not have been more different than the Concordia-Peru State matchup that took place one year ago. In that contest, the Bulldogs knocked down 16 treys and won going away, 109-60.
The string of road games will continue on Saturday when the Bulldogs make the trip to Northwestern (10-4, 5-4 GPAC). Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. CT from the Bultman Center in Orange City, Iowa. The Red Raiders are permitting fans up to 50 percent capacity with tickets being sold at the entrance (no online sales). In this season’s first meeting, Concordia held off Northwestern, 77-74, in Seward. The Bulldogs have won four-consecutive series matchups.