SEWARD, Neb. – For the second time this season, the Concordia University men’s basketball team fell victim to sixth-ranked Dakota Wesleyan’s impressive arsenal of firepower. The visiting Tigers spoiled senior day by knocking down 12 treys on the way to a 92-83 win over the Bulldogs inside Walz Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Second-year head coach Ben Limback’s squad, winners of four of its last five games entering the weekend, slipped to 14-13 overall and 7-10 in league play. The loss dropped Concordia back to ninth place as it continues its pursuit of a top-eight finish required to reach the GPAC tournament.
Lack of communication on the defensive end contributed to the Bulldogs’ inability to get enough stops on Saturday.
“I didn’t like our communication on defense,” Limback said. “There are two parts to communication. If you don’t talk you give up wide-open shots because of breakdowns execution-wise. It also gets you going. It gets your mind engaged. Tonight we were consistently giving up wide-open shots.”
Concordia’s offense operated efficiently, as evidenced by 50.8 percent shooting and a 44-28 advantage in points in the paint. However, senior guard Kris Menning got loose with a game high 25 points and Dakota Wesleyan (24-3, 14-3 GPAC) shot 50 percent from the field while also knocking down 16 of 19 (.842) free throws.
Led by Joel Haywood, Concordia’s lone senior, the Bulldogs made a late run that hacked a 17 deficit all the way down to five (84-79) with just over a minute remaining. Haywood piled up 14 of his 16 points in the second half to give his team a fighting chance down the stretch. The native of Lakewood, Colo., pumped in 10 points during the 20-8 spurt that had the Bulldogs breathing down Dakota Wesleyan’s neck.
The Tigers, now 10-3 on the road, shut the door on Concordia by going a perfect 8-for-8 from the foul line over the game’s final 43 seconds.
The outside shooting combo of Menning and Jade Miller (combined 8-for-16 from beyond the arc) allowed Dakota Wesleyan to overcome another big effort from Bulldog sophomore Chandler Folkerts. The Milford native piled up 23 points and eight rebounds in 29 minutes of action. Concordia also got 11 points apiece from freshman Rudy Knight and junior Robby Thomas.
Even with Tiger guard Trae Bergh limited to 2-for-10 shooting, Dakota Wesleyan still managed to surpass its season scoring average of 87.8 points per game.
“Dakota Wesleyan is a fabulous team. They have a lot of weapons,” Limback said.
After going 20-for-33 (.606) from 3-point range over his previous three games, sophomore Eli Ziegler hoisted only four treys, making one on Saturday. He had five points in 27 minutes.
Menning topped a group of four Tiger double-figure scorers that included Jalen Voss (19), Luke Bamberg (11) and Miller (11).
The Bulldogs will play their final three regular-season games on the road. That stretch begins with No. 9 Midland (20-6, 12-4 GPAC) at 8 p.m. on Wednesday. The Warriors (10-2 at home) have won each of the past eight meetings with Concordia. Midland sits in third place in the GPAC standings.