KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The scoring production provided by AJ Watson and Justin Wiersema emerged as a positive from an 87-70 loss in an exhibition contest with NCAA Division II Rockhurst University on Saturday (Nov. 27) afternoon. The Concordia University Men’s Basketball team struggled defensively as the Hawks shot an eye-popping 71.0 percent from the floor in the first half and led by 25 at the break. Six different Rockhurst players posted eight or more points as part of a balanced effort.
Head Coach Ben Limback’s squad will chalk this one up as a learning experience. The Bulldogs remain at 8-1 overall (3-1 GPAC) with their most recent official game having been the 92-76 win over No. 10 Jamestown on Tuesday.
A Kansas City, Kan., native, Watson had the opportunity to play right in his backyard and treated family members to a 21-point outing. Watson made 7-of-17 shots from the floor and also added six rebounds and four assists in 32 minutes of action. Meanwhile, Wiersema went wild in the second half and finished with 30 points on 11-for-18 shooting (6-for-11 from 3-point range). No other Bulldogs reached double figures, although Gage Smith contributed eight points, eight rebounds and two steals.
This was a countable regular-season game for Rockhurst, a member of the Great Lakes Valley Conference. The Hawks (2-5) got a team high 19 points from Nick Volz while Jake Auer chipped in with 15 points. Rockhurst cooled off from 71.0 percent shooting in the first half to 48.1 percent shooting in the second half. Concordia did manage to frustrate the Hawks into 17 turnovers. For the second outing in a row, the Bulldogs were outrebounded by a significant margin (39-30 on Saturday).
On the plus side, Concordia outscored Rockhurst, 41-33, after halftime. Eleven Bulldogs saw action with the starters getting the lion’s share of the minutes. Sixty-eight of the team’s 70 points were totaled by the starting five.
Another major conference clash is coming up on Wednesday when Concordia will be at No. 22 Morningside (5-1, 3-0 GPAC), the defending GPAC regular season champion. The Mustangs have had the Bulldogs’ number in recent seasons. Concordia’s most recent win over Morningside came in February 2016.