Concordia came up just short in its attempt for a second straight upset win, as 2nd-ranked Dordt College picked up an 87-83 overtime win over the Bulldogs on Saturday evening in Seward. The visiting Defenders improved to 17-1 overall and 9-1 in conference play. Concordia, who picked up a big 94-75 win over 14th-ranked Northwestern earlier this week, dropped to 8-8 on the year with a 4-5 GPAC mark.
Dordt College led by as many as nine (40-31) in the opening half and took a 40-33 lead into halftime. Both teams shot 50 percent or better in the opening 20 minutes. However, Dordt held a 28-14 advantage in points in the paint, as the combination of Kyle Lindbergh and Jordan Vogel combined for 19 first half points. Concordia stayed close with solid shooting (5-of-11) from deep. Tyler Byrd (Bennington, Neb.) hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first half for the Bulldogs.
There were multiple ties and lead changes throughout the final 10 minutes of the second half. The Bulldogs grabbed a 73-71 lead on a 3-pointer by Joel Haywood (Lakewood, Colo.) with just over three minutes remaining in regulation. Concordia took its biggest lead of the game (75-71) on a layup by Porter Birtell (Madison, Neb.) with just over two minutes to play. Lindbergh took over from there, however, and scored the next six points for the Defenders to give Dordt a 77-75 lead with less than 10 seconds remaining. Concordia had one final shot to tie the game, and Byrd came up big. The senior went the length of the floor, spun in the lane, and knocked down a contested floater just before the buzzer to force the game to overtime.
In overtime, the Bulldogs went cold (3-of-11 from the field) while Dordt was a perfect 4-for-4 from the field. Vogel knocked down consecutive jumpers to give Dordt an 81-79 lead. Austin Katje followed with his only bucket of the game, a 3-pointer from the wing, to increase the Defender lead to 84-79 with less than three minutes to play. Birtell answered with a layup and an opportunity at a 3-point play. He missed the free throw, however, and a dunk by Lindbergh gave the Defenders an 86-81 advantage.
Birtell again scored on a layup and had another opportunity for the 3-point play. He again missed the free throw, and Dordt maintained the 86-83 lead. Dordt gave the Bulldogs some opportunities, as the Defenders had three missed free throws and a turnover in the closing minute of the overtime period. Unfortunately, Concordia couldn’t capitalize, going 0-of-4 from the field with a turnover down the stretch. A made free throw by Lindbergh secured the 87-83 win for the Defenders.
Dordt was 34-of-64 overall (53.1 percent) from the field in the win. The Defenders held a 41-32 rebounding advantage and also held the advantage in paint points (54-44), points off turnovers (16-4), second chance points (15-6) and fast break points (8-2). As has been the case all year, Dordt used balanced scoring to pick up the victory. Lindbergh finished with 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field. Vogel added a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Cliff Warner had a double-double of his own with 11 points and 13 assists. Trevor Wolterstorff had 15 points and eight rebounds for the Defenders, who won despite a 15-of-24 (62.5 percent) performance at the foul line.
Concordia also had a good night from the field. The Bulldogs were 35-of-68 overall for 51.5 percent. Concordia was 10-of-21 (47.6 percent) from deep, but free throw shooting proved costly. Concordia managed just 3-of-8 shooting from the charity stripe in the loss.
Birtell was 11-of-18 from the field for a game-high 23 points. He added a game-high 13 rebounds. Barrett Braun (Lakeside, Calif.) had another strong game with 19 points. The senior hit three 3-pointers and was 8-of-14 overall from the field. Byrd added 15 points and three assists, while Haywood handed out a career-high 11 assists.
The Bulldogs continue GPAC play on the road at Hastings College (Jan. 11) and Morningside College (Jan. 14).