LINCOLN, Neb. – The Concordia University men’s basketball team quickly turned a 59-59 second-half tie into a double-digit lead as the Bulldogs pulled away for a 96-78 road win over Nebraska Wesleyan on Wednesday night. Concordia piled up 60 second-half points and shot 64.5 percent over the final 20 minutes to win for the third time in four conference road contests.
Second-year head coach Ben Limback’s squad improved to 6-6 overall and 3-4 in conference action.
“We knew we were going up against a different style,” Limback said of the Prairie Wolves’ frenetic pace. “They have been hanging with a lot of teams. We preached staying poised and emphasized rebounding. I thought we did a great job in the second half. Once we started rebounding better we were able to get out and run.”
And run away is what the Bulldogs did. Over the final 9:20 of game time, Concordia outscored Nebraska Wesleyan 37-19. During this stretch, junior guard Micah Kohlwey got wicked hot, pouring in 13 points in a span of 3:31. His trey with 5:40 left lifted Concordia to its first double-digit lead of the night at 79-68.
The Prairie Wolves (2-6, 0-4 GPAC) never got any closer in a game controlled inside by sophomore Chandler Folkerts, who posted his GPAC-leading fourth double-double of the campaign (22 points and 10 rebounds). He also added a pair of blocks as part of a defensive effort that limited Nebraska Wesleyan to nearly 20 points below its season average.
The Prairie Wolves, who play an unusually fast paced-style under first-year head coach Dale Wellman, attempted only 27 treys on Wednesday – 16 fewer than their season average.
“This was definitely Bulldog basketball,” Limback said. “The style and the flow was more our pace. Not that we’re used to scoring 96, but we were able to control the tempo defensively.”
The 96 points were a season high and the most for a Concordia men’s basketball team since the 97-88 win over York College on Nov. 2, 2012. The Bulldogs nearly reached the century mark on Wednesday by shooting 55.2 percent (32-for-58) from the field and 78.8 percent (26-for-33) from the free throw line.
It didn’t hurt that Folkerts was nearly unstoppable in the paint. The Milford native went 8-for-10 from the floor and 6-for-7 from the charity stripe as part of one of the better performances of his young career.
“He’s finishing very well,” Limback said. “I was very impressed with the way he rebounded above the rim. He’s coming into his own. I thought all our bigs were very efficient.”
Freshman guard Kevin White drew praise from Limback for his work in transition. White joined Folkerts and Kohlwey (16) as double-figure scorers for Concordia. White put up 11 of his 13 points in the first half. Senior Joel Haywood added nine points and four rebounds and junior Robby Thomas chipped in nine points and six boards.
The Bulldogs conclude the week on Saturday when they host Mount Marty (1-11, 0-7 GPAC) at 4 p.m. in their final home contest prior to the Christmas break. Concordia will look to sweep the season series from the Lancers, whom the Bulldogs defeated, 88-70, on Nov. 12. Fans are encouraged to wear ‘ugly’ Christmas sweaters as part of Saturday’s holiday-themed game.