SIOUX CENTER, Iowa – The shortest player on the Concordia University men’s basketball team stood tallest when his team needed a boost. Seward High School product Brevin Sloup played the role of hero in crunch time while steering the Bulldogs back from a 15-point deficit for an 85-80 win at Dordt on Saturday afternoon (Dec. 2).
Fifth-year head coach Ben Limback’s squad has improved to 8-2 overall and to 3-1 in conference play. It’s the best 10-game start during Limback’s tenure.
“These guys are just competitors,” Limback said. “We might do some dumb things and lose our senses at times, but these guys just compete and they find ways to get things done. I’ll take a team any day that’s willing to fight, stick with each other and make the plays when they count. I think that’s what this team understands.”
A member of the star-studded sophomore class, Sloup entered the contest averaging 11.6 minutes per game. On Saturday, Sloup had his number called in the most critical of moments. He buried a game-tying 3-pointer with 2:34 left in the game and then added driving layups on two of the next three possessions to stake Concordia to its first lead since the contest’s early minutes. Sloup put the finishing touches on the victory by sinking free throws for his 16th and 17th points in the closing seconds.
Limback liked the matchup he saw with Sloup on the court against a smaller guard-oriented foe.
“I thought he matched up well defensively with some guys on Dordt and also offensively he was doing a great job of slowing us down,” Limback said. “He was always under control. He’s very patient offensively and he’s a gamer. In those crunch times, he’s done it before for us. He hit a big shot in Denver and he hit a big shot in our opener at Kansas Wesleyan. He has that ability.”
The Bulldogs needed the heroics of Sloup and an improved second half defensive performance to dig out of a hole that still stood at nine points (69-60) with under six minutes remaining. The ensuing 17-4 Concordia run began with a pair of free throws and continued with a crucial 3-point shot delivered by Kyle Pierce. While hanging onto an 83-80 lead in the final 30 seconds, the Bulldogs forced a missed 3-pointer by Marcus Winterfeld and then came up with the rebound.
Sloup (5-for-9 from the field) led the way for a team that placed six players into double figures in scoring: Jake Hornick (15), Clay Reimers (15), Chris Johnstone (12), Kyle Pierce (10) and Tanner Shuck (10). Concordia shot 50 percent in both halves. On the flip side, Dordt regressed from 54.8 percent shooting in the first half to a 38.5 percent clip over the final 20 minutes. The Bulldogs also finally figured out how to slow down Alec Henrickson. He totaled a game high 31 points, but none of them came in the game’s final six minutes.
Both teams made frequent trips to the free throw line, where Concordia went 29-for-36 (.806) and Dordt went 20-for-23 (.870). The Bulldogs drilled all eight of their shots from the charity stripe in the last minute-and-a-half.
The Defenders (7-6, 2-1 GPAC) began GPAC play by toppling then 10th-ranked Dakota Wesleyan and Mount Marty. There are now only two teams in the conference without a league defeat (Morningside and Briar Cliff). Meanwhile, Concordia has won three of its first four GPAC games for the first time since the 2010-11 season.
The Bulldogs will be back at home on Wednesday (Dec. 6) to host Hastings (8-3, 1-2 GPAC) in a matchup set to tip off at 8 p.m. CT inside Walz Arena. Concordia owns a home winning streak of 10, a run that includes four home victories this season.