Concordia University senior Ryan Shrum scored a career-high 31 points to help lead the Bulldogs to a 68-55 men’s basketball win over Nebraska Wesleyan on Wednesday evening in Lincoln. The Bulldogs improved to 11-5 overall and 5-3 in GPAC play with the win. The loss dropped NWU to 5-9 overall and 1-6 in conference play.
Shrum (Allen, Texas) scored the first 15 points for Concordia, who quickly built a double digit lead in the opening minutes of the game. Shrum had six 3-pointers in the opening half of play. His sixth make from long range gave the Bulldogs their biggest lead (32-17) with just over two minutes to play in the first half. Concordia took a 33-21 lead into the halftime break. Of Concordia’s 10 made field goals in the opening half, eight came from long range.
Nebraska Wesleyan slowly chipped away at the Concordia lead in the second half. The Prairie Wolves cut the lead to five on multiple occasions, but Shrum and the Bulldogs again had an answer.
With the Bulldogs in front by five at 53-48 with just over five minutes remaining in regulation, Shrum hit another 3-pointer to increase the lead to 56-48. Following a pair of made free throws by NWU, Shrum again hit from deep for a 59-50 Concordia advantage. Two made free throws by Shrum and a basket by Andy Banahan (Steele City, Neb.) increased Concordia’s lead to 13 (63-50) with just over a minute left in the contest. Nebraska Wesleyan would get no closer than nine the rest of the way, and the Bulldogs secured the 68-55 win.
Concordia was 21-of-54 (38.9 percent) from the field overall. The Bulldogs hit 10 3-pointers on the night (eight by Shrum) and finished 10-of-24 from long range for 41.7 percent. Long distance shooting proved to be the difference, as NWU was just 3-of-15 from deep on the night. The Bulldogs were 16-of-22 (72.7 percent) at the foul line.
Shrum finished 9-of-19 from the field (8-of-15 on 3-pointers) for his 31 points. He also added four assists. Tyler Byrd (Bennington, Neb.) was the only other Concordia player to reach double figures. He finished with a double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds. Byrd also handed out four assists in the Concordia win.
Concordia, which had struggled defensively in the previous two games, held Nebraska Wesleyan to just 19-of-63 (30.2 percent) shooting from the field. The Prairie Wolves did hold a 47-38 rebounding advantage in the contest. Nick Dinan scored 12 points, and Bryce Arp added 11 for Nebraska Wesleyan in the loss.
Concordia travels to Dakota Wesleyan on January 16.