2012-2013 Men's Basketball

6-22 Overall, 2-18 GPAC - Season Stats


Oct. 27 Concordia Seminary (Exhibition) St. Louis, Mo. 1 p.m.


York College Tip Off Classic 
Nov. 2 York Classic at York  York, Neb. W, 97-88
Nov. 3 York Classic vs. (13) Bellevue  York, Neb. L, 74-84
Cattle Classic: Nov. 9-10
Nov. 9 York vs. Bethel (Kan.)   Seward, Neb. 3 p.m.
Nov. 9 Kansas Wesleyan   Seward, Neb. W, 84-56
Nov. 10 York vs. Kansas Wesleyan  Seward, Neb. 2 p.m.
Nov. 10 Bethel (Kan.)   Seward, Neb W, 73-70
Nov. 17 * Mount Marty College  Seward, Neb. W, 66-63
Nov. 20 * Nebraska Wesleyan University  Lincoln, Neb. W, 68-65
Nov. 28 * Midland University  Seward, Neb. L, 81-88 (OT)


Dec. 1 * Morningside College  Sioux City, Iowa L, 70-87
Dec. 5 * (25) Briar Cliff University  Sioux City, Iowa L, 68-75
Dec. 8 * Dakota Wesleyan University  Seward, Neb. L, 65-75
Dec. 12 * (8) Doane College  Seward, Neb. L, 67-77
American Cancer Society Classic at Coe College: Dec. 28-29
Dec. 28 Coe College  Cedar Rapids, Iowa L, 66-84
Dec. 29 (11) Mount Mercy University  Cedar Rapids, Iowa L, 78-88


Jan. 2 * (10) Northwestern College  Seward, Neb. L, 74-94
Jan. 5 * (13) Dordt College  Sioux Center, Iowa L, 66-79
Jan. 9  * Hastings College  Seward, Neb.  L, 75-84
Jan. 12 * Morningside College  Seward, Neb. L, 64-86
Jan. 16 * Midland University  Fremont, Neb. L, 64-91
Jan. 20  * Dakota Wesleyan University  Mitchell, S.D. L, 63-79
Jan. 23  * (12) Doane College  Crete, Neb. L, 77-85
Concordia Invitational Tournament:  Jan. 25-26
-For complete tournament stats, click HERE
Jan. 25 CUW vs CUAA  Seward, Neb. 3 p.m.
Jan. 25 Concordia Chicago  Seward, Neb. W, 75-71
Jan. 26 CUAA vs. CUC   Seward, Neb, 2 p.m.
Jan. 26 Concordia-Wisconsin   Seward, Neb. L, 62-64
Jan. 30 * Nebraska Wesleyan University  Seward, Neb. L, 67-77


Feb. 2 * (5) Northwestern College  Orange City, Iowa L, 55-82
Feb. 6 * Briar Cliff University  Seward, Neb.  L, 68-72
Feb. 9 * (15) Dordt College  Seward, Neb. L, 73-84
Feb. 13 * Hastings College  Hastings, Neb. L, 63-83
Feb. 16 * Mount Marty College Yankton, S.D. L, 48-84

2012-2013 Roster

No. Name Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown Previous School
10 Adam Vogt 5-9  Jr.  Syracuse, Neb. Syracuse 
12 Phil Friedrich G 5-11 Sr. Seward, Neb. Seward
20 Joey Werning G 6-0 So. Lincoln, Neb. Pius X
22 Joel Haywood G 6-3 So. Lakewood, Colo Denver Lutheran
23 Alex Wakefield F 6-3 Fr. Lincoln, Neb. Lincoln East
24 Charles Dunbar G 5-11 Sr. St. Louis, Mo. Lutheran North
30  Robby Thomas F 6-7 Fr. Shawnee, Kan. Maranatha Academy
32 Max Wegener F 6-9 Fr. Wildwood, Mo. Eureka
34 Beau Smith 6-4 Sr. McKinney, Texas College of the Sequoias
40 Brent Houchin F 6-7 Sr. Bruning, Neb. Bruning-Davenport
44 Zach Chrzan F 6-4 So. Fort Wayne, Ind. Concordia Lutheran
50 Porter Birtell P 6-6 Sr. Madison, Neb. Lutheran High NE/Wayne State
RS Andrew Bowers C/F 6-7  So.  Aurora, Colo. Parker Lutheran

Coaching Staff

Head Coach: Martin Kohlwey

Assistant Coach: Brett Muller

Graduate Assistant: Dustin Weber

Student Manager: Tyler Knobbe

Memories of Aurora theater shooting stay with Bowers

17 SEP 2012

By Jake Knabel, Sports Information Director

Very few people understand the horror that Andrew Bowers has seen. In a few minutes this summer he witnessed actions so dark they are almost unimaginable.

On July 20, a gunman opened fire inside an Aurora, Colo., movie theater in which Bowers, a Concordia men’s basketball student-athlete, sat down with his girlfriend and two friends to watch the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises. The tragic shooting left 12 dead, 58 injured and many more with emotional scarring.

“It’s definitely still always with me,” Bowers said. “The biggest part is at night when you’re trying to go to bed and you’re super tired, but you replay that moment you were there over and over.”

Bowers has returned to campus at Concordia for his sophomore year, glad to be immersed in the calm, peaceful atmosphere of Seward. Still, this school year is different as the events of the early-morning hours of that traumatic day stay with him.

“Loud noises definitely alarm me more,” Bowers said. “I was at work and a box fell and I kind of jumped. It just got me thinking about it. It’s everyday things you just take for granted. You lose your peace and security for a little bit.”

The Aurora native, who grew up just a few-minutes drive from the scene of the shooting, vividly recalls the sequence that involved the gunman appearing in all black and throwing out gas canisters before spraying bullets into the crowd. Bowers and his friends, who sat in the third row of the theater near where the gunman entered, immediately ducked beneath seats as gunshots rang out.

The 6-foot-7 Bowers scraped his forehead in an effort to get down and protect his girlfriend with the shooter standing only 20 feet away. He remembers 20 to 25 shots being fired before the group made the decision to crawl to the opposite side of the gunman, and then ultimately make a run for it.

Bowers and his friends dashed for the exit and made it unscathed as the shooter set his sights on the quartet. Bowers’ friend Jordan Murphy, a member of the Colorado University football team, trailed behind the group and narrowly scurried out of the theater as a bullet “whizzed” by his head, according to a USA Today article.

“I didn’t see any bullets. It was kind of frantic in the place,” Bowers said. “From what I saw there was drywall coming down from the side of the theater, so there were definitely bullets going to the side of it. I didn’t actually see any of it, but it was chaotic. The smoke from the tear gas made it hard to see.”

Bowers and his friends rushed to their vehicle in the parking lot and fled to his nearby home, where they stayed up all night reassuring loved ones and watching the news coverage of the tragedy. Friends lit up Bowers’ phone with calls and messages related to the incident.

Later that morning after sleeping for only an hour-and-a-half, Bowers went on national TV and answered questions from Fox News’ Shepard Smith. The rest of the nation looked on in shock as survivors told of the harrowing circumstances.

Bulldog head men’s basketball coach Grant Schmidt was on vacation en route to Phoenix, Ariz., when he received emails about what had occurred from Bowers’ former coaches at Parker Lutheran High School. Schmidt felt relieved that Bowers had come out of the theater with only a scrape.

“I didn’t want to relive the moment with him,” Schmidt said. “I didn’t want to know details. I just wanted to know that he was OK and express to him how much we care about him and how happy we are that he was unharmed. In the midst of this tragedy and horrible incident, we could really see how God protected him.”

Considering the deaths and injuries of several around him, Bowers also felt shielded that night.  

“It’s a moment you can’t expect to ever be in,” Bowers said. “When the shots were going off I definitely said a prayer that my friends and I would be safe.

“At that moment everything just seemed a lot calmer. Making decisions was a lot clearer. I felt like God was definitely with us and protecting us that night. He had to be because we were just so lucky. My faith has definitely gotten a lot stronger since then.”

Bowers’ growing faith is evident in the way that he speaks of the gunman. Although he admits to feeling a degree of anger when seeing the alleged shooter’s photo on TV, Bowers understands the need to pray even for someone charged with committing several murders.

“As hard as it is, I just want to pray for him and his family because there is definitely something that’s not right with him,” Bowers said. “I think he just needs God’s love more than anyone.”

Through faith and the support of friends and family, Bowers continues to try to move past the terrifying images that remain in his memory. Bowers, who currently sports a sling that carries his right arm as a result of surgery to repair a torn labrum unrelated to the shooting, has been incredibly resilient through it all.

“I was concerned that this could really set him back,” Schmidt said. “What came out of this was that I was very impressed with how Andrew handled it and how strong he stayed and how his faith lifted him."

Bowers plans to speak to his team through a devotion in the near future about what happened and how his faith has helped him persevere.

While the pain and shock of the shootings still prevent him from going back to any movie theaters, Bowers has tried to learn from the experience and grow stronger as a person.

“There’s got to be a reason why God protected us that night,” Bowers said. “We know now that there’s purpose for us in our lives. We just have to be thankful for every day we get and hold on to the ones we love. Right as we got in the car we realized just how much we love each other and how grateful we were to have each other.”

Men's basketball pegged to finish sixth in GPAC

11 OCT 2012

GPAC Release

Concordia men’s basketball has been slotted to finish in a tie for sixth place in the GPAC, according to the preseason coaches’ poll released Thursday by the league.

The Bulldogs concluded the 2011-12 season tied for seventh in the conference with a GPAC mark of 7-13. Despite a frustrating finish, last season showed promise at times as evidenced by Concordia’s 19-point victory over then No. 14 Northwestern on Jan. 4 and an overtime loss to eventual league champ and then No. 4 Dordt on Jan. 7.

With the return of six seniors, led by First Team All-GPAC selection Porter Birtell, the Bulldogs believe they can outperform their preseason placement.

Dordt picked up nine of 11 first-place votes and 99 total points to top the poll. The Defenders went 30-5 overall last season and advanced all the way to the semifinals of the National Championships in Point Lookout, Mo.

Northwestern finds itself projected to finish in the same spot that it landed in last season’s final standings. The Red Raiders collected the remaining two-first place nods and gathered 92 total points in the poll.

Concordia officially tips off the 2012-13 season on Nov. 2 when it plays York College at 7:30 p.m. as part of the York College Tip-Off Classic.

GPAC Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches' Poll

*First-place votes in parentheses

1. Dordt - 99 (9)
2. Northwestern - 92 (2)
3. Briar Cliff - 76
4. Midland - 72
5. Morningside - 65
T6. Concordia - 45
T6. Hastings - 45
8. Dakota Wesleyan - 44
9. Nebraska Wesleyan - 29
10. Doane - 26
11. Mount Marty - 12 

Kohlwey takes reins of men's basketball program

18 OCT 2012

Marty Kohlwey has assumed men’s basketball head coaching duties at Concordia for the 2012-13 season. Kohlwey returns to the bench after serving as the lead assistant for Bulldog men’s basketball from 1999-2006.

“It’s exciting to have an opportunity to mentor young men,” Kohlwey said. “With this opportunity it’s also exciting to be able to coach along with (grad assistant) Dustin Weber to influence the guys, teach them about basketball and hopefully have success on the court.”

Kohlwey steps into the role previously filled by 23-year head coach Grant Schmidt, who is the school’s all-time winningest basketball coach with a record of 445-276. Schmidt, who made 10 NAIA National Tournament appearances and won three Nebraska-Iowa Athletic Conference titles, resigned his position on Tuesday.

Kohlwey, a former roommate and teammate of Schmidt at Concordia, admires the longtime coach’s contributions to the program.

“Grant is obviously an amazing coach,” Kohlwey said. “I’ve learned so much from him. His practice plan is the best I’ve ever seen. We will certainly want to continue that as we go forward.

“I’ve told him over and over again, and will continue to say that he’s the best coach I’ve ever worked with.”

The past few days have been a whirlwind for a Bulldog team that opens the 2012-13 season on Nov. 2. Suddenly it must prepare with a new leader in place.

The team cares a great deal about Coach Schmidt and want the best for him, Kohlwey said. “But they are also student-athletes that are here to compete and want to do well, knowing that we have a season looming very quickly that we need to prepare for.”

The program remains in good hands with Kohlwey, who helped guide the Bulldogs to a combined record of 128-63 and three trips to the NAIA National Tournament in his six seasons as a men’s basketball assistant. Kohlwey was part of the coaching staff that led Concordia to a National runner up finish and a record of 32-6 in 2005, a national quarterfinal finish in 2003 and a national round of 16 appearance in 2001.

Kohlwey began his collegiate coaching career in 1983-84 when he served as an assistant for Concordia University, Wisconsin. He then became the head boy's basketball coach at Rockford (Ill.) Lutheran High School (1984-1992, 1995-98), where he compiled a record of 182-110, including a mark of 132-43 over his final six seasons.

While at Lutheran High School, Kohlwey won four conference championships, three regional titles, one sectional championship, one super sectional title and made one Elite Eight appearance. He was named Illinois High School Athletic Association District 11 Coach of the Year three times and coached two eventual NCAA Division I athletes.

In addition to his coaching career, Kohlwey also played for the Bulldogs from 1979-83. He was co-captain on the 1982-83 team and collected Nebraska College All-Star honors. Following his collegiate playing career, Kohlwey was invited to try out for the CBA Rockford Lightning, a professional basketball team.

He holds his bachelor’s from Concordia University, Nebraska, in theology and physical education. He also went on to earn his master’s in family life education and ministry in 1998 from Concordia University, Nebraska.

He and his wife Sue have three children: Stephanie, Kirsten and Micah.

2012-13 men's basketball season preview

31 OCT 2012

At a glance
2011-12 Record: 13-17 overall; 7-13 GPAC (T-7th)
Head Coach: Marty Kohlwey (first year)
Record at School: Served as Concordia men’s basketball assistant from 1999 to 2006; member of coaching staff that led the Bulldogs to a 32-6 record and a national runner up finish at the 2005 National Championships.
Returning Starters (3): Porter Birtell, Joel Haywood, Beau Smith
Returning Letterwinners (9): Porter Birtell, Zach Chrzan, Charles Dunbar, Phil Friedrich, Joel Haywood, Brent Houchin, Beau Smith, Adam Vogt, Joey Werning
Key Losses: Tyler Byrd, Barrett Braun
Key Newcomers: Robby Thomas, Maxwell Wegener
2011-12 GPAC All-Conference (*denotes returnee):*Porter Birtell (first team); *Joel Haywood (GPAC Co-Freshman of the year)
2011-12 All-America: Porter Birtell (Honorable Mention)

A 19-point victory at then No. 14-ranked Northwestern on Jan. 4 of last season provided a glimpse of how good the 2012-13 edition of the Concordia men’s basketball team can be. Inconsistency in a rugged conference led to a disappointing 13-17 finish in 2011-12, but a deep roster that includes six seniors has the Bulldogs built for a potential rebound season.

“That will make this difficult (coaching) transition smoother,” first-year head coach Marty Kohlwey said. “All six seniors are very competitive, very poised and mature. I really believe they are going to be very helpful in making this a successful team.”

Foremost among those seniors is 6-foot-6 post Porter Birtell, a returning First Team All-GPAC and Honorable Mention All-America selection last season. Birtell recorded 10 double-doubles and led the Bulldogs in scoring (17.2 ppg) and rebounding (8.3 rpg) in his best collegiate season.

“Porter’s an amazing athlete,” Kohlwey said. “He is a large body, but he is an amazing athlete. He’s impressed me all the way through the preseason. I really believe that Porter’s going to have a great year. Obviously his presence inside and his ability to score underneath the basket is going to be a big help.”

A key storyline this offseason is the move of last season’s GPAC Co-Freshman of the Year Joel Haywood (9.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.3 apg) from the point to off guard. Kohlwey believes Haywood, who shot 45.9 percent from beyond the arc last season, will thrive in a role that allows him to get more shots, particularly from the perimeter.

With Birtell down low and Haywood at the off guard position, the Bulldogs will have a lethal inside-out game.

“I think Joel feels very comfortable at the two position,” Kohlwey said. “As you can tell by the award he won last year, he’s well respected and he too works very hard. He has a great attitude and a great mind for the game. I love how he reads things. He’s like a coach on the floor.”

Haywood’s role transformation leaves the point guard position in the capable hands of senior Charles Dunbar (5.8 ppg, 1.8 apg) and sophomore Joey Werning, who has the chance to step into a much bigger role after playing in 19 games last season. Dunbar figures to see the majority of action at the point and will look to create more 3-point opportunities for Haywood and other outside marksmen like returning senior starter Beau Smith (11.3 ppg, 33.1 3-point percentage) and junior Adam Vogt (6.4 ppg, 37.3 3-point percentage).

According to Kohlwey, Dunbar has improved his leadership qualities and has all the tools to be an excellent point guard playing alongside Haywood, who actually grew an inch taller over the offseason, as part of a formidable backcourt.

Concordia also expects big things out of Smith, a 6-foot-4 wing who earned Honorable Mention All-GPAC last season, and others like senior post Brett Houchin, sophomore forward Zach Chrzan and senior wing Brian Towner. Senior guard Phil Friedrich, a Seward native, is another returning letterwinner who has been described as a gym rat.

The Bulldogs believe Smith can earn a spot on one of the two all-conference teams by season’s end, while Towner may be the most athletic player on the squad. Chrzan’s name has popped this offseason because of his work ethic. The Fort Wayne, Ind., native has caught the attention of the Concordia coaching staff with his exceptional growth since March.

The Bulldogs bring in plenty of size with freshmen Maxwell Wegener (6-foot-9) and Robby Thomas (6-foot-7), both of whom can step out and shoot and cause matchup problems on the perimeter. The multifaceted duo can play a variety of roles and figure to get a chance to make an impact right away. The key is how well they mesh with the returning core.

“In practice our guys get along great,” Birtell said of the team’s chemistry. “We’re all pretty good friends on and off the court. In practice you can barely tell who’s a freshman and who isn’t. Everyone treats everyone else equally. No one holds that they’re a senior over everybody else. It’s been really good this year.”

With dozens of players deserving of varsity minutes, Kohlwey will have almost limitless options in terms of the number and types of lineups he can use. Concordia will have the advantage of going big to match up against teams with stronger inside games or going with a smaller, quicker lineup to combat particularly athletic opponents.

“We’re going to be a deep team,” Kohlwey said. “We have at least 10 players who can contribute. We’re going to play a lot of guys and I’m really excited about all of them.”

Kohlwey hopes to continue the success of a program that was led by head coach Grant Schmidt since 1989. Kohlwey, an accomplished prep head coach in the state of Illinois and as a collegiate assistant, paid Schmidt the ultimate compliment.

“Grant is obviously an amazing coach,” Kohlwey said. “I’ve learned so much from him. His practice plan is the best I’ve ever seen. We will certainly want to continue that as we go forward.

“I’ve told him over and over again, and will continue to say that he’s the best coach I’ve ever worked with.”

Behind Kohlwey’s leadership and the star power of Birtell, Haywood and Smith, the Bulldogs hope to out-perform their sixth-place standing in the GPAC preseason coaches’ poll. Birtell says that Concordia will make that happen simply by showing improvement at both ends of the floor.

“I think our defense will be really strong this year,” Birtell said. “And our offense will be a lot more open. Plus there will be a lot more shots available for different guys on the team.”

For Kohlwey, the outlook of the 2012-13 Bulldogs rests upon how well they can dictate tempo.

“Our meat and potatoes is our defense,” Kohlwey said. “And we want to be able to control the game. We’ve been known, as a program, to be a ball control type of team. If we can control the tempo of the game and play great defense, I think we’ll be very successful.”

Concordia tips off the season this weekend at the York College Classic where the Bulldogs play host York at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and then challenge Bellevue at 3 p.m. on Saturday. Concordia will play its home opener on Nov. 9 as part of the Cattle Classic.

Smith, Bulldogs shoot their way to win at York

02 NOV 2012

YORK, Neb. – Serving as a collegiate head coach for the first time, Concordia’s Marty Kohlwey couldn’t have asked for a more precise shooting effort than the one he got on Friday night. The Bulldogs blistered the nets to the tune of 66 percent from the field on the way to a 97-88 road win over in-state York (1-1). The game was the first of two for the Bulldogs (1-0) in the weekend’s York College Tip Off Classic.

“Playing at York is always tough, especially the first game of the season,” Kohlwey said. “Given all the adversity we dealt with, it was a very challenging environment to play in. Given that, I’m very proud of the seniors. They just played so poised and so composed.”

Senior Beau Smith put forth a huge performance with 20 points and 11 rebounds in heading a starting five that each collected 12 points or more.

“We were kind of short-handed at the four position and Beau had to play a lot of minutes there,” Kohlwey said. “He did an awesome job. He hit a lot of big shots in the first half. It seemed like every time we needed one, either him or Brian (Towner) was hitting a big shot.

“And then Joel Haywood’s three at the end of the game to put us up by five was huge.”

The Panthers, buoyed by 20 forced turnovers and a compact gym that holds in plenty of noise, made things interesting down the stretch in a nip-and-tuck affair. Concordia, which held the lead most of the way, pulled away late with clutch free throws, including several from Charles Dunbar and Towner.

Rounding out the double-figure scorers for the Bulldogs were Towner (19), Dunbar (14), Porter Birtell (13) and Haywood (12). Brent Houchin came off the bench to total seven points and four rebounds.

All in all, Concordia handled a tough road environment very well for the season opening game.

“They put a lot of pressure on you,” Kohlwey said. “Given it was the first time we put that jersey on and have a hyped crowd there, I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty.

“We had 20 turnovers, but whenever we did get a shot up it went in.”

York got a game high 23 points from Dylan Brewer, who was 9-for-10 from the foul line. The Panthers shot 45.8 percent (27-for-59) for the game.

The Bulldogs continue action at York on Saturday with a 3 p.m. contest against No. 13 Bellevue. The Bruins opened their season with 83-66 loss versus No. 3 Dordt before rebounding with a 70-63 victory over Tabor on Friday night.

Birtell, Bulldogs fall short of No. 13 Bellevue

03 NOV 2012

YORK, Neb. – Bulldog men’s basketball continued its challenging early-season schedule with a narrow 84-74 loss to No. 13 Bellevue on the second and final day of the York College Tip Off Classic on Saturday. Concordia (1-1) fell despite a game high 23 points from star senior post Porter Birtell.

The Bulldogs held a lead of six points as late as the 11:58 mark after sophomore Joel Haywood knocked in a bucket and a free throw to make it 60-54 in Concordia’s favor. The Bruins then went on a 10-0 run and held the lead until a Birtell free throw edged the Bulldogs in front 69-68.

Bellevue proceeded to make 11 free throws over the final 4:34 and went 30-for-36 from the foul line for the game. The Bruins’ Darius Robinson, who tied a team high with 20 points, drilled a back-breaking 3-pointer to give Bellevue a 77-70 advantage with 2:32 to go. The Bruins then iced the game at the charity stripe with near perfect precision.

Despite the loss to cap the weekend, head coach Marty Kohlwey was pleased with how his team competed against two quality opponents in York.

“It’s really good to play two good teams and be in position to possibly win both if we were just able to make a couple of adjustments in the Bellevue game,” Kohlwey said. “We certainly have some improvements we need to make, but I’m pleased with the effort this early in the season.”

Birtell picked up where he left off last season when he was a First Team All-GPAC selection. He went 9-for-11 from the field, proving to be a handful for a Bruin team known more for its athleticism than its size.

“We really wanted to get it inside to Porter more,” Kohlwey said. “That was extremely helpful for us. He was able to take advantage of his size advantage down low.”

Junior marksman Adam Vogt also played a key role in allowing Concordia to go toe-to-toe with one of the nation’s top teams. Vogt nailed 5 of 9 3-point attempts, including two late in the game on the heels of Bellevue’s 10-0 scoring binge. Vogt was second on the team with 17 points, while Haywood added 15 points, six rebounds and three steals.

After shooting 66 percent on Friday night, the Bulldogs dropped to 41.5 percent on Saturday. Meanwhile, Bellevue shot 48.9 percent. On the plus side, Concordia cut its turnovers down from 20 on Friday to 10 on Saturday.

The styles of the two weekend Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference opponents contrasts significantly from most GPAC members and gave Kohlwey a better grasp on the strengths and weaknesses of his team.

“It’s a different style of basketball from what we see in the GPAC,” Kohlwey said. “It really helped us find out what we need to work on. We always want to test ourselves against good competition.”

The Bulldogs now look forward to next weekend’s Cattle Classic in which they will host Kansas Wesleyan and Bethel in the Friday-Saturday event.

Birtell's monster game powers Bulldogs

09 NOV 2012

SEWARD, Neb. – Concordia senior post Porter Birtell proved much too powerful in the paint in leading the Bulldogs to an 84-56 victory over visiting Kansas Wesleyan on Friday. Birtell posted 21 points and 14 rebounds as the Bulldogs won big on day one of the 13thannual Cattle Classic hosted by Concordia.

The Bulldogs featured a potent inside-out game with Birtell controlling action down low and snipers like junior guard Adam Vogt (14 points, 4-for-7 from beyond the arc) providing firepower from long range. Concordia shared the ball effectively with 18 of its 30 field goals coming directly on assists.

“We’re so blessed to have such good kids,” Marty Kohlwey said. “I just love our guys. They care about each other and it shows on the court. They really enjoy playing with each other. It’s fun to watch when things work out as well as they did tonight.”

Kansas Wesleyan (2-1), a member of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, jumped out to a 5-1 lead early on, but the Bulldogs came roaring back. A Birtell turnaround bucket in the paint and a Charles Dunbar 3-pointer capped a 14-0 run that put Concordia up 15-5 at the 15:11 mark of the first half.

The lead only ballooned from there as Vogt got loose late in the first half. He single-handedly fueled an 8-0 run with 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions and then a mid-range jumper to blow open the game at 40-17 with under three minutes left in the half.

“When you get open shots you just have to knock them down,” said Vogt, reluctant to take any of the credit for himself. “Making shots is the easy part.”

Birtell took it from there as the Madison, Neb., native piled up 14 points and seven rebounds in the second half. He punctuated his incredible production in only 21 minutes of play with a steal and a dunk midway through the latter half to send the Walz crowd into a frenzy.

“Porter’s going to be the GPAC Player of the Year,” Vogt predicted after the game.

“He’s so strong,” Kohlwey added in response to Birtell’s play. “Brent (Houchin) and Porter work very hard every day in practice. Having senior leadership like Porter is so helpful. It’s great to have a rock underneath the basket. He’s so hard to move once he gets position.”

The Bulldogs were deadly from the field on Friday shooting 52.6 percent (30-for-57) from the field and 55.6 percent (10-for-18) from 3-point range. Meanwhile, the Coyotes, who went 3-26 last season, shot only 32.3 percent (20-for-62) in the face of a solid Concordia defensive effort.

Dunbar enjoyed a fantastic game at the point with 16 points, six assists, two steals and just two turnovers in 24 minutes of action. Sophomore Zach Chrzan came off the bench for Concordia to record 11 points.

Senior guard Phil Friedrich drew the appreciation of the Bulldog faithful with his hard work on the offensive glass. On one particular second half possession, Friedrich hauled in two offensive rebounds to set up an easy Houchin bucket.

"Phil Friedrich was the shortest guy on the court and was going out there grabbing board after board," Vogt said.

Concordia continues play at the Cattle Classic on Saturday when it hosts Bethel College (Kan.) (0-2) at 5 p.m.

See-saw battle goes to Bulldogs

10 NOV 2012

SEWARD, Neb. – A Bethel College (Kan.) squad that fell by 23 points to York on Friday night looked like a different team on Saturday as it took host Concordia to the wire. In the end, head coach Marty Kohlwey’s Bulldogs (3-1) secured a perfect weekend at the Cattle Classic with a 73-70 nailbiting victory over the visiting Threshers (0-3).

“Bethel played really, really well,” Kohlwey said. “I was impressed with their team. I don’t think we took them lightly. I don’t feel like we did. They came out ready to play.

“We played well down the stretch and I’m really proud with how we ended the game.”

With the game on the line, the Bulldogs (3-1) leaned on star senior post Porter Birtell, who delivered in crunch time. With the score tied at 70, Concordia senior point guard Charles Dunbar picked the pocket of John Watson and then found a sprinting Birtell at the other end of the floor. Birtell got fouled on the drive to the bucket and then made one of two free throws to provide Concordia a one-point lead with 1:17 left.

Neither team scored again until the Bulldogs got the ball with under a minute to go. Concordia milked the shot clock before Dunbar fed Birtell inside. The Madison, Neb., native showed off his power moves on the left block and finished with a shot off the glass to make it 73-70 with only :13 remaining.

“We drew it up on the sideline,” Dunbar said. “Coach told me to run a regular play and if it didn’t work, get it to the big man exactly like I did it. I actually took my time and set the play up.”

Bethel (0-3) got one last chance. The Threshers put the ball in the hands of their sharpshooting guard Ronnie Hodge whose 3-point attempt misfired off the rim and caromed out of bounds with less than a second on the clock. Concordia could finally exhale.

The Bulldogs had to fight their way back from a deficit as large as 13 points in the first half. Concordia cut the Thresher advantage to 40-33 at the break and then began the second half with a 10-2 run punctuated by Adam Vogt’s 3-pointer on the assist from Brian Towner.

Bethel never allowed the Bulldogs to go up by more than four points in a hotly-contested second half. In all, the game saw 14 lead changes and seven ties.

Towner, a senior from Houston, Texas, splurged for 13 of his 15 points in a key second-half performance. He also played a starring role for an improved second half effort defensively.

“He is so strong and so athletic that he’s tough to guard,” Kohlwey said. “He also hit a long range three that provided a big boost.”

Dunbar looked increasingly comfortable in his role as the primary ball handler. The Concordia floor general led the Bulldogs with 33 minutes played. The St. Louis, Mo., native posted a line of 10 points, nine assists and two steals in serving as the catalyst for a team that shot 68 percent (17-for-25) in the second half.

“First half we really just rushed everything,” Dunbar said. “The second half we showed more chemistry. Guys were talking and moving, actually working together. It worked out perfect. In the second half we looked inside more and then the shots outside began to fall.”

Birtell fell just short of a second-straight double-double with 17 points and nine rebounds. Vogt finished with 10 points, including a pair of threes.

Bethel got a game high 22 points from Hodge, who made 5-of-11 shots from downtown.

The Bulldogs now look forward to their GPAC opener on Saturday, Nov. 17, when Mount Marty (1-1) visits Walz Arena for a 4 p.m. matchup.

Cattle Classic All-Tournament Team

Concordia – Adam Vogt, Jr., G

Concordia – Porter Birtell, Sr., F

Bethel – Ronnie Hodge, Sr., G

Kansas Wesleyan – Scott Weber, So., G

York – Thadd Varmall, Sr., G/F

Bulldogs rally to win GPAC opener

17 NOV 2012

SEWARD, Neb. – Concordia used a 15-5 run to end the game to pull out a 66-63 victory over Mount Marty in the GPAC opener for both teams on Saturday. Head coach Marty Kohlwey’s Bulldogs, who fell 61-51 to the Lancers in last season’s conference opener, came up big down the stretch to improve to 4-1 overall and 1-0 in the GPAC.

Junior guard Adam Vogt’s hard drive to the rack with 31 seconds remaining resulted in a 3-point play to edge Concordia out in front 63-60 and propel the Bulldogs to the winner’s circle. However, Concordia could not breathe easy until Mount Marty’s Joe Hieb’s 35-foot bank shot at the buzzer hit the backboard and rimmed out.

“It was the upperclassmen leadership that was key,” Kohlwey said. “You saw what Adam did with that big drive and foul shot when we were tied. We also had great senior leadership.

“We had a lot of great contributions from a lot of different guys. That’s something we can take away from this and feel good about.”

The Lancers appeared poised to get the road victory when a Chris Richardson steal and pass up court to Salidin Smith produced an easy two points and a 58-51 Mount Marty lead with 6:15 left in the game. The seven-point advantage following an 11-3 Lancer run was the largest lead of the game for either team.

The Bulldogs gutted out the win despite being outshot 44.6 percent to 37.5 percent. Concordia star senior post Porter Birtell tallied 10 of his game high 16 points in the second half. He added four points during the game-deciding final push while getting help from Vogt, who put up five of his 11 points in the last 31 seconds.

Senior forward Brent Houchin came off the bench to provide a personal season high of 13 points in 15 minutes of action. The native of Bruning, Neb., made 5-of-6 shots from the field, giving Concordia a reliable scoring option on an afternoon in which the Bulldogs struggled at times to find the bottom of the net.

Concordia overcame a below average shooting performance by attacking the rim and getting to the free throw line. The Bulldogs went 19-for-28 from the charity stripe compared to 8-for-11 foul shooting by Mount Marty. Concordia also outrebounded the Lancers 40-32 and had 19 offensive rebounds.

“Our defense wasn’t that great, but our rebounding was,” Houchin said. “We had to keep them off the offensive rebound, because they got a lot of penetration on us. Our rebounding was probably what got us the win.”

Kohlwey praised backup point guard Joey Werning for his ability to run the offense with starter Charles Dunbar saddled on the bench with foul trouble. Werning’s only bucket ignited Concordia’s 15-5 game-finishing run.

“Joey Werning played a huge game,” Kolwey said. “The shot he hit at the elbow started the run that turned the game around.”

Sophomore guard Joel Haywood enjoyed a big first half that included 11 points and 3-for-5 shooting from long range to help the Bulldogs gain a 32-31 advantage at the break. In a game that saw 20 lead changes, Concordia’s largest lead was five.

Hieb paced Mount Marty with 15 points on 6-for-15 shooting from the field. Smith chipped in 12 points and nine rebounds.

The Bulldogs are back in action on Tuesday when they travel to Nebraska Wesleyan for an 8 p.m. game. The Prairie Wolves (1-0) knocked off Concordia-Chicago 79-50 on Friday in their season opener. Kohlwey’s son Micah was a member of the Nebraska Wesleyan team last season.

Bulldogs erase 11-point deficit in road victory

20 NOV 2012

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Bulldogs slugged it out through an ugly first half and rallied for a thrilling 68-65 road victory over Nebraska Wesleyan on Tuesday night in Lincoln. Concordia (5-1, 2-0 GPAC) shrugged off an icy cold 25 percent first half shooting performance to win its third consecutive game by three points.

After being held scoreless in a first half in which Concordia fell behind 29-22, junior guard Adam Vogt ignited a spirited effort in the second stanza. His 17 second half points allowed the Bulldogs to erase an 11-point second half deficit.

“Adam Vogt – I just don’t know what to say. He is the player of the game,” Concordia head coach Marty Kohlwey said. “His heart and soul was left out on the court tonight. He worked so hard. I’m speechless.”

The Prairie Wolves’ Eric Jackson provided a glimmer of hope for the hosts in the final seconds when he nailed a 3-pointer with :1.9 remaining to cut Concordia’s lead to 67-65. The Bulldogs got the ensuing inbounds pass in the hands of sophomore Joel Haywood, who made one of two free throws.

Nebraska Wesleyan (2-1, 0-1 GPAC) then attempted to get the ball into the frontcourt only to have the pass picked off by Concordia’s Zach Chrzan to seal the comeback win. It was the Bulldogs’ third straight victory over their neighbors to the east.

“I just pray a lot,” Kohlwey said in response to the team’s recent run of success in tight games. “God’s blessed us so far. I just thank God for the abilities he’s given these guys. They just play so hard.”

The triumph looked improbable when Trent Scheitel’s free throw made the score 41-30 in favor of the Prairie Wolves with 16:09 left in the game. But senior post Porter Birtell lifted Concordia’s spirits on the very next possession with a pair of free throws, followed by a three-point play by Charles Dunbar as a result of an acrobatic layup.

The Bulldogs, who finished 30-for-37 (81.1 percent) from the foul line, then relied on free throw shooting to finally gain a second half lead. Haywood was fouled from beyond the arc in the left corner and drained three free throws to tie the game at 48 with 9:23 left. Thirty-five seconds later the Bulldogs would take a 50-48 advantage with two Brian Towner free throws.

Nebraska Wesleyan went on to score the next six points to regain the lead, but Vogt would simply not allow his team to lose on this night. The native of Syracuse, Neb., scored the game’s next four points – all from the free throw line – and then drilled a 3-pointer from the left corner to put the Bulldogs up for good at 61-60 with 3:40 to go.

Birtell also came up huge with 11 of his 13 points in the second half, while Haywood notched a game high 21 points. Haywood played 33 minutes and made 9 of 11 from the charity stripe.

Freshman Max Wegener, who hails from Wildwood, Mo., saw his first collegiate action on Tuesday. While he didn’t score a point, Wegener chipped in six rebounds and two steals.

Concordia’s superior foul shooting overcame 32.7 percent from the field compared to the Prairie Wolves’ 47.1 percent shooting. The Bulldogs’ emphasis on attacking the rim in the second half changed the game around.

“They’re a very physical team and we kind of backed down from that physicality in the first half,” Kohlwey said. “We talked about at halftime that we had to be physical and run through their shoulders and still make the cuts that we know we have to make.”

Scheitel paced Nebraska Wesleyan with 17 points and nine rebounds.

Concordia will return home Nov. 28 when Midland (1-3, 0-2 GPAC) comes to town for a 7:30 p.m. contest at Walz Arena. The Bulldogs are 3-0 in home games this season.

Midland outlasts Bulldogs in overtime affair

28 NOV 2012

SEWARD, Neb. – The Bulldogs’ remarkable run of success in close games ended on Wednesday as an athletic Midland squad outlasted Concordia 88-81 in an overtime tilt at Walz Arena. Concordia could not overcome big runs by the Warriors to begin each period as it fell to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in league play. Midland, which received votes in the coaches’ preseason top 25 poll, improved to 3-4 overall and 1-2 in the GPAC.

“The 10-0 run at the beginning of the first half, the 9-0 run at the beginning of the second half and the 6-1 run at the beginning of overtime were just insurmountable,” Concordia head coach Marty Kohlwey said. “But we again showed amazing heart coming back from about eight down with about four minutes to go and tying it up and sending it into overtime.”

The Warriors quickly took control in the extra stanza by jumping out to a 79-74 lead with Jerome Vaughn’s bucket in the paint with 2:47 to go. Concordia answered with Porter Birtell getting two of his game high 21 points on the next possession to cut it to a three-point deficit.

The Bulldogs failed to get any closer the rest of the overtime session that was punctuated by a pretty tip in by the high flying James Parrott that pushed the Midland advantage back up to 81-76 at the 1:37 mark. Joel Haywood’s 3-pointer brought Concordia within 85-81 with :14 left, but Midland’s Galen Gullie responded with a pair of free throws that all but iced the Warrior victory.

Birtell got 15 of his points after the first half whistle, including a put back to make the score 73-73 with 1:04 to go in regulation. The score in the paint from the Madison, Neb., native capped an 11-3 run in a game filled with large scoring spurts on both sides.

Concordia appeared primed to take the lead in the final minute of the second half when point guard Charles Dunbar picked the pocket of Parrott and raced to the other end. But Parrott swooped in and rejected Dunbar’s layup attempt to preserve the tie and extend the game into overtime.

Behind 54.2 percent (32-for-59) shooting for the game, Midland put an end to the Bulldogs’ four-game winning streak, which included three triumphs by three points.

“You learn a lot from trials and tribulations,” Kohlwey said. “I think we can learn a lot from this.”

“I’m really proud of our guys for their guts and their courage and never giving up.”

Bulldog senior forward Beau Smith quickly nocked the rust off his game after sitting out the past four contests due to injury. Smith finished with 17 points, including 13 first-half points fueled by 2-for-2 shooting from beyond the arc.

“It’s hard to sit out and watch the guys practice and play games,” Smith said. “It’s hard to sit out and watch when you’re a competitor. I was just excited to come out. I probably was rusty. I was just so excited and was hitting shots anyway.”

Smith nailed both of his 3-pointers during Concordia’s 17-6 run that concluded midway through the first half and allowed the Bulldogs to erase an 11-point deficit. Concordia would then take a six-point lead to the break after a Phil Friedrich lay in beat the buzzer.

However, Midland responded quickly in the second half with a 9-0 run – keeping with the theme of the night.

“One thing we can’t do is get down like that,” Smith said. “We’ve been digging a lot of holes for ourselves this year so far. Last year we would lose those games by 20. We do have a lot of heart. There are a lot of guys on the team that will fight.”

Vaughn paced the Warriors with 21 points and was followed close behind by Ben Imig’s 20 points. Parrott filled the stat sheet with 16 points, six rebounds, three blocks and three assists.

Concordia will hit the road on Saturday for a 7 p.m. game at Morningside (3-5, 1-1 GPAC). The Mustangs fell 95-82 to NCAA Division III Buena Vista on Wednesday in what was their most recent outing.

Mustangs' firepower too much for Bulldogs

01 DEC 2012

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Concordia played catch up all night as Morningside blistered the nets behind the torrid 3-point shooting of Tanner Ferguson and Tanner Miller. The Mustang duo combined to go 11-for-17 from beyond the arc to provide the firepower in an 87-70 win over the Bulldogs on Saturday night in Sioux City, Iowa.

“We did not defend the three well – that’s for sure,” Concordia head coach Marty Kohlwey said. “At the beginning we struggled in our man-to-man with their penetration. We went to the zone and that kind of helped us come back until Morningside got comfortable again.”

The Bulldogs (5-3, 2-2 GPAC) used a 15-2 run that spanned 4:05 from the end of the first half through the beginning of the second half to pull within 43-37 after trailing by as many as 19 points in the first half. Senior forward Beau Smith poured in eight of his 16 points during the run in what was his second game back from a foot injury.

Concordia got as close as 51-46 at the 13:32 mark of the second half after an Adam Vogt layup. The 5-0 Bulldog run answered back-to-back 3-pointers by the Mustangs’ Miller. However, Morningside worked the lead right back up to 12 over the next three-and-a-half minutes and maintained a lead between eight and 17 points the rest of the way.

Morningside (4-5, 2-1 GPAC) went wild from long range midway through the second half as Ferguson and Miller matched each other 3-pointer for 3-pointer in building a 71-56 advantage with just over seven minutes to play. Ferguson finished with a game high 27 points, while Miller added 19.

“They have three main shooters that all shoot above 40 percent from three,” Kohlwey said. “They are a team build around 3-point shooting and when you don’t stop it, you’re going to have a very tough time.”

The Bulldogs made another late push with an 8-1 run that put them within 76-68 with 3:34 on the clock. Senior guard Adam Vogt nailed a 3-pointer during the run and senior post Porter Birtell capped the spurt with a two-point jumper. However, the Birtell bucket proved to be the last Concordia field goal of the game as the Mustangs ran away down the stretch.

Concordia has gotten into a habit of digging early holes. The Bulldogs climbed out of an 11-point deficit to beat Nebraska Wesleyan on the road on Nov. 20 and then erased another 11-point disadvantage before falling to Midland in overtime on Wednesday.

Smith topped Concordia with 16 points and five assists. Birtell chipped in 14 points (on 6-for-8 shooting) and a team high seven rebounds.

The Bulldogs were unable to overcome their own poor 3-point shooting effort (5-for-24) in the face of Morningside’s white hot 13-for-28 performance from beyond the arc.

“We’re finding out more and more that we need to get the ball inside,” Kohlwey said. “We didn’t shoot the ball very well from three. We have a strong inside game and we need to get it in there more.”

Concordia will head back to Sioux City on Wednesday for an 8 p.m. battle at Briar Cliff (8-3, 2-2 GPAC).

No. 25 Briar Cliff holds off Bulldog rally

05 DEC 2012

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Wednesday’s contest followed a familiar pattern as the Bulldogs lagged behind by double digits early, then rallied before ultimately falling 75-68 at No. 25 Briar Cliff. The Chargers improved to 9-3 overall and 3-2 in the GPAC. Concordia has lost three straight and is 5-4 overall and 2-3 in league play.

“Briar Cliff did a great job executing and we had trouble stopping their sets,” Bulldog head coach Marty Kohlwey said. “We did a much better job executing in the second half. We did some nice things and had a chance right at the end but couldn’t convert.”

Despite a 14-point first half deficit, Concordia hung tight in the final minutes. A Turner Fahey corner 3-pointer with 1:11 left extended the Charger lead to 67-62 and ultimately proved to be a back breaker. Fahey then chased down a rebound on the next possession, leading to a Zach Otting layup that all but put the game out of reach with 48 seconds remaining.

After being held scoreless in the first half, sophomore guard Joel Haywood scorched the nets early in the second half with three 3-pointers in a span of 3:16 that allowed Concordia to get to within one point at 46-45 with 16:28 remaining. But the Bulldogs never could grab the lead as the host Chargers maintained a slim advantage throughout the second half.

Even in the face of foul trouble, senior post Porter Birtell produced his second double-double of the season with 20 points and 10 rebounds. The interior force put up six points during the Bulldogs’ 20-7 run that spanned the latter part of the first half and early second half.

“We ran some sets that loosened up the defense a little bit,” Kohlwey said. “We got the ball inside and that allowed us to get some shots from the outside. That’s how Joel got those 3’s to get us back in it. Then we continued to be aggressive defensively to get stops.”

The area where Briar Cliff held its biggest advantage was at the free throw line where it drained 24 of 32 attempts. The Bulldogs made 12 of 18 shots from the charity stripe.

Concordia, which held Briar Cliff to 39.6 percent (21-for-53) shooting, had been 5-0 this season when holding opponents to 47.2 percent or less from the field. Free throw shooting was especially key for the Chargers during a second half in which they shot only 6-for-21 (28.6 percent) from the field.

The double-double was the second of the season for Birtell, who has scored 13 points or more in every game this season. Senior Beau Smith put up 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists and three steals. Haywood and senior Charles Dunbar added 11 points apiece.

Briar Cliff got 16 points from its top scorer in Jake Shipley and another 15 from Taylor Murren.

The Bulldogs are used to fighting back from large deficits. Concordia has made significant runs to cut into disadvantages as large as 14 at Briar Cliff, 19 at Morningside, 11 versus Midland and 11 at Nebraska Wesleyan in its four most recent games. The Bulldogs responded with a win over Nebraska Wesleyan and forced overtime in a home loss to Midland.

Concordia returns to Walz Arena on Saturday to host Dakota Wesleyan (4-6, 1-3 GPAC) at 4 p.m. The Tigers dropped an 80-69 decision to Morningside on Wednesday night.

Cold shooting dooms Bulldog in GPAC loss

08 DEC 2012

By Taylor Mueller, Sports Information Assistant

SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia men’s basketball suffered a tough loss to Dakota Wesleyan on Saturday, as the 75-65 defeat dropped them to 5-5 overall and 2-4 in the GPAC conference.

The Bulldogs started out with a quick two-point lead with a two point bucket by senior guard Charles Dunbar off a turnover. The lead was pushed to 8-7 until a two-point shot by Carde Pennington made it 9-8. The Bulldogs played a respectable first half until a two point shot by Mike Lee opened things up late in the first half to give the Tigers an 11-point lead. A free throw by Bo Lacroix pushed the lead to one as the first half ended.

“It was pretty frustrating,” senior post Porter Birtell said. “We should have done better than we did. We came out kind of flat to start the game.”

Head coach Marty Kohlwey saw plenty of areas in need of improvement, particularly in a first half that saw the Tigers jump out to a 12-point lead after 20 minutes of play.

“The first half was rough,” Kohlwey said. “The shot selection wasn’t very good and that was revealed in our shooting percentage. We didn’t play well and we didn’t make good decisions offensively.”

The Bulldogs stepped up their defensive pressure in the second half, and clawed back from a 19-point deficit to come within eight points with 1:08 remaining. But by that time it was too late and the damage had been done. A free throw by Mike Lee gave the Tigers a 69-59 lead, making it a four possession game with 55 seconds left.

Birtell talked about the difference in the second half.

“We played defense,” Birtell said. “We fought through the ball screens.”

Kohlwey shared similar insight.

“The second half we played better defense and did a better job of helping each other out,” Kohlwey said. “We started making better decisions and we got the ball inside more.”

Birtell finished one board shy of a double-double, and ended his night with 11 points and nine rebounds. Senior forward Beau Smith added 14 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore Joel Haywood and junior Adam Vogt chipped in with nine points apiece.

Birtell noted that rebounding and finishing in the paint helped his performance against the Tigers.

“A couple times I was able to get away from my guy and I got a nice little layup,” Birtell said.  

As a team, Concordia shot just 32.8 percent from the field, an aspect that will need work come Dec. 12 when the Bulldogs host 14th-ranked Doane College.

“We need to work on our offense,” Birtell said. “We need to start putting the ball up a little more and we need to start playing 40 minutes and not 20.”

Kohlwey commented on what the team needs to do to improve for their next match.

“We’ve got to continue to work on some of the basic things,” Kohlwey said. “We can be pretty good when we play well together. We’ve got to come out mentally tough and not get down on ourselves.”

No. 8 Doane outmuscles Bulldogs

12 DEC 2012

SEWARD, Neb. – Wednesday night’s tilt featured a noticeable increase in intensity as Eighth-ranked Doane got the best of Concordia in a renewal between fierce rivals at Walz Arena. The Tigers overcame a seven point first-half deficit and pulled away with a 77-67 road victory. The Bulldogs fell to 5-6 overall and 2-5 in league play. First-place Doane improved to 13-1 overall and 6-1 in the GPAC.

“We played well with good intensity. We played our hearts out,” Concordia head coach Marty Kohlwey said.

Unlike its previous five conference games, Concordia got off to a great start on Wednesday as it jumped out to an early 10-4 lead after senior Beau Smith’s second 3-pointer of the game at the 15:47 mark. The Bulldogs led by as many as seven points after a Brent Houchin bucket in the paint. The early advantage got the crowd engaged and showed a glimpse of what the Bulldogs can be.

“I think there are a lot of good things we can take from this,” Kohlwey said. “We obviously are good enough to play for them. It easily could have been a different story if we do better than 4-for-10 from the free throw line – and only get to the line 10 times to their 30.

“I thought our effort was real good. We got a lot of support from the bench again. Our guys showed a lot of heart, and that’s the way we’ve got to play all year.”

Concordia once again had to fight back from a large deficit, this time cutting a 13-point disadvantage all the way down to two with 5:46 remaining in the game. However, Doane responded with an 8-0 run of its own that built the lead back up to 68-58 as star freshman forward Connor Beranek poured in five of his game high 32 points during the spurt for the Tigers.

Doane polished the game off with a back-breaking 9-0 run, initiated by the dagger of a 3-pointer knocked down by the Tiger’s Austin Benson from the right corner. Doane took advantage of Concordia’s drought that lasted 2:17 in the final three minutes to extend the advantage to 77-64 in the last minute.

Beranek and the GPAC-leading Tigers got going late in first half and closed the opening 20 minutes on a 15-3 run that vaulted Doane in front 33-28. Doane’s 6-foot-7 Beranek buried a pair of 3-pointers in the closing few minutes of the first stanza to allow the Tigers to complete their comeback from an early hole.

Beranek and teammate Jens Scholl both chipped in nine rebounds as Doane outmuscled the Bulldogs on the boards by a 40-30 tally. Doane came into play with nearly a plus-six average per game on the glass and continued its solid inside play at Walz Arena.

Smith enjoyed another fine all-around game with a team best 17 points and seven rebounds. The senior from McKinney, Texas, went 7-for-12 from the field and added three assists. Senior post Porter Birtell, who notched 10 points and four rebounds, was Concordia’s only other double-figure scorer.

Backup point guard Joey Werning had one of his best statistical games with seven points, four rebounds, three assists and no turnovers in 17 minutes of play. He picked up two key buckets, including one off his own steal, as the Bulldogs tried to rally back late in the second half.

The Bulldogs lost for the fifth-straight time despite holding Doane to just 40.7 percent (22-for-54) shooting. Concordia matched the Tigers with a 44.3 percent effort (27-for-61) from the field. However, The Tigers more than made up for the difference by connecting on 26 of 29 free throw attempts.

With the victory, Doane extended its winning streak to four since losing at Hastings on Nov. 28. The Tigers have now won two out of three in a closely contested series with Concordia.

The Bulldogs will not play again until Dec. 28 and 29 when they travel to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to take part in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. Coe College will serve as the opponent on the 28th in a 7 p.m. contest. Concordia will turn around and challenge Mount Mercy at 1 p.m. on the 29th.

Kohawks bury Bulldogs in holiday classic

28 DEC 2012

By Taylor Mueller, Sports Information Assistant

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The Concordia men’s basketball team did not receive the warm welcome it anticipated when it arrived in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to square off against host school Coe College in the American Cancer Society Classic. A bombardment of 3-point baskets by the Kohawks was enough to sink the Bulldogs in the 84-66 victory for Coe College, handing Concordia (5-7, 2-5 GPAC) its sixth straight loss.

Concordia struggled to find an offensive rhythm throughout the game, and shot just 36 percent from the field. Meanwhile, Coe College lit up the scoreboard with six three-pointers in the first half, and seven more in the second half, finishing 46 percent from behind the arc.

“Coe College played extremely well,” coach Marty Kohlwey said. “They shot the ball well and we didn’t handle their ball screen offense.  We weren’t able to hit the shots that we had and they were able to hit theirs.”

“It was a tough game,” senior Beau Smith said. “We need to find ways to get confidence and get stops. We just got to find our enthusiasm and confidence in the game of basketball.”

Kohlwey went on to explain what the Bulldogs will need to do better if they want to thwart another shooting clinic that they saw Coe put on.

“We need to help out with ball screens, put better pressure on the ball, and just recover quickly to the shooters,” Kohlwey said. “They hit a lot of outside shots and we didn’t get over to cover them.”

The Bulldogs attacked the basket hard and early, eventually earning the double bonus late in the first half and connected on eight of 13 free throws.

“I thought we came out with a lot of heart at the very beginning,” said senior Beau Smith who led the Bulldog attack with 18 points and six boards. “They hit a lot of threes at the very beginning and that killed us.”

Three different Kohawk players had triples in the first half, as Concordia struggled to contain the hot shooting early on. However the Bulldogs managed to keep the game within a respectable 10-point margin throughout the first half, and found themselves trailing the Kohawks 38-28 at the intermission.

The second half proved to have little difference than the first, except that four Kohawks began to stroke 3-point shots. Concordia managed to answer with a couple 3-point baskets of their own by Smith and sophomore Joel Haywood, as the two teams exchanged blows for a brief stretch, to keep the margin within 10 points in favor of Coe College.

“I saw the first couple shots go in and I got confident,” Smith said. “It was more of a confidence thing than anything. I hit a couple threes here and there, but it wasn’t about that though. I wanted to see other people put it in the hole rather than me.”

Coe’s seven 3-pointers to Concordia’s three proved to be too much, and the Kohawks continued to build their lead throughout the second half, also thanks in large part to an impressive 17-point performance from center Seth Light.

Senior Porter Birtell, who had only five points in the first half, finished the night with 14 points and five rebounds. Haywood added 10 points and snatched four caroms. Senior Charles Dunbar dished out three assists to head the passing attack for the Bulldogs.

As for their next game in the four team tournament, Concordia will face the Mount Mercy University, currently ranked 11th in NAIA Division II.

“They like to control the tempo of the game, they like to push the ball up the court, we’ll need to control that a little bit better, and we’ll need to make some shots,” Kohlwey said of Mount Mercy.

Tip-off is at 1 p.m. at Coe College on Saturday.

Excellent first half not enough against No. 11 Mount Mercy

29 DEC 2012

By Taylor Mueller, Sports Information Assistant

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – It was a tale of two halves for the Bulldogs, who, playing in their second game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, dropped their seventh-straight game. No. 11 Mount Mercy (14-2) used a 26-6 second half run on the way to an 88-78 victory over Concordia (5-8, 2-5 GPAC) on Saturday afternoon.

“I think we played pretty well in the first half defensively and offensively we got the ball inside more,” Kohlwey said. “We were more patient. When we didn’t have a fast break, we did a good job of pushing the ball up the court again. We made some timely mistakes with that in the second half, but I was pretty pleased with the way we played in the first half. That was a good team we were playing.”

“We just came out with intensity,” sophomore Joel Haywood said. “All year we’ve been having sluggish first halves and we just decided that we were working together we were doing the things we were asked to do instead of doing individual stuff and that worked out for us.”

The fiery Bulldogs came out with terrific energy and intensity in the first half of the game, and took it right to the Mustangs early. The bulldogs looked often to work the ball into the lane, whether it was driving hard to the basket, or dumping it down to senior Porter Birtell or Brent Houchin.

The physical style of play was enough to draw 14 fouls on the Mustangs and send the Bulldogs to the charity stripe numerous times, where they connected on 10 of 15 free throws in the first 20 minutes. Mount Mercy muscled right back, however, as Birtell and Houchin both picked up three fouls before intermission.

The Bulldogs did not struggle to find their rhythm, however, as they shot a scorching 50 percent from the field. Junior Adam Vogt led the way with 12 first half points, including two 3-pointers that helped Concordia build a lead as large as eight before settling for a 45-42 halftime advantage.

The Bulldogs scored on the first possession of the second half off a Charles Dunbar assist to Birtell, who was able to establish nice position underneath the basket and kiss a soft layup off the glass. On the other end of the court, however, the Mustangs worked to push the tempo of the game, and began working the full length of the court, scoring in transition, and hitting key shots when the Bulldogs resorted to a two-three zone to hide Birtell and Houchin, who had four fouls apiece.

“We got some calls on Porter that were unfortunate because we had to take him out and then Brent picked up his too,” Kohlwey said. “We weren’t able to maintain our intensity.

Mount Mercy edged its way back into control of the game, and took off, at one point going up by as much as 17, before the Bulldogs were able to pull within 10 prior to the final buzzer.

“We were putting up quick shots, we were getting away from the offense and stuff like that,” Haywood said. “It’s tough when you’re big man gets fouls but that comes with having a huge force down in the middle. It’s going to happen every now and then. So we need to work on that, but we should be alright.”

Leading the way for the Bulldogs was Vogt with 22 points and six rebounds. Haywood chipped in with 11 points and five boards, while senior Charles Dunbar added 10 points and handed out four assists. Senior Beau Smith worked the glass for nine rebounds.

Kohlwey commented on what he took away from the past two days, and explained what he is looking forward to in the weeks to come.

“We just need to keep improving on the things we’re weak on,” Kohlwey said. I was pretty pleased with how we adjusted form last night to today. We had a much better effort and much better execution. I think we’re taking steps in the right direction, we just need to keep working on what we’re deficient at and work to improve.”

Haywood shared similar insight.

“We’re excited about GPAC,” Haywood said. “None of the teams we’ll face in the GPAC are as tough or as physical as some of the teams we’ve played between Bellevue and Mount Mercy.  We’re in a good spot. We’ve need to keep up what we’ve been doing.”

Concordia returns home on Jan. 2 to host No. 10 Northwestern (11-3, 5-2 GPAC) at 8 p.m. inside Walz Arena.

No. 10 Northwestern cruises past Bulldogs

02 JAN 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – Tenth-ranked Northwestern ran away from Concordia early en route to a 94-74 victory at Walz Arena on Wednesday. The Bulldogs, who had hoped to turn the page on a difficult finish to 2012, fell to 5-9 overall and 2-6 in GPAC play. With the victory, the Red Raiders (12-4) pulled even with Doane for first place at 6-2.

Northwestern blistered the nets by shooting 53.6 percent from the field. Head coach Kris Korver’s squad also out-muscled Concordia in the paint with a 45-32 advantage on the glass while routinely getting buckets right at the rim.

The Red Raiders got on a roll early when Zack Leeper nailed back-to-back 3-pointers on the team’s opening possessions. Northwestern kept up the onslaught until building a 27-7 lead after a Ben Miller 3-pointer at the 11:32 mark. Northwestern extended its lead to as many as 26 points and took a 52-28 lead to the half.

Concordia mounted a second half comeback with freshman Max Wegener leading the charge. The 6-foot-9 native of Wildwood, Mo., posted a career best 13 points. His pair of free throws at the 9:47 mark cut the deficit to 12 (69-57) and completed a 6-0 run. However, the Red Raiders pushed their advantage back up to 19 points by the six-minute mark to effectively end the threat.

Wegener and fellow freshman Robby Thomas served as bright spots on a night that saw the Bulldogs lose for the eighth-straight game. They each swatted two shots and brought life to a team that struggled to a 33.3 percent (10-for-30) first half shooting percentage.

Their energy could not overcome the torrid scoring of Northwestern’s quartet of Stu Goslinga (22 points), Leeper (19 points), Daniel Van Kalsbeek (18 points) and Miller (16 points). Goslinga was deadly on the interior as he connected on 11 of 12 field goal attempts, while Leeper picked up the slack from the outside with 5-for-11 shooting from long range.

Wegener’s 13 points led the Bulldogs. Sophomore Joel Haywood added 11 points and senior post Porter Birtell chipped in 10 points and four rebounds. Sophomore Joey Werning provided quality minutes off the bench with eight points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Concordia will play a ranked opponent for the third-straight game and for the fifth time in the last seven contests when it travels to challenge No. 13 Dordt (14-3, 6-3 GPAC) on Saturday. Tip off from Sioux Center, Iowa, is set for 4 p.m.

Concordia falls to another ranked foe

05 JAN 2013

SIOUX CENTER, Iowa – Using a lineup with more size on Saturday, the Bulldogs hung tough with No. 13 Dordt on the road before dropping a 79-66 decision. Concordia scored the first six points of the second half and led 42-37 before the GPAC preseason favorite Defenders (15-3, 7-3 GPAC) took control. The Bulldogs fell to 5-10 overall and 2-7 in GPAC contests.

“We’re improving, but we need to make better decisions,” Concordia head coach Marty Kohlwey said. “We have to have better shot selection. It doesn’t do much good to play a good first half and then throw it out the window in the second half. We had some major lapses in shot selection.”

After a Brent Houchin jumper gave the Bulldogs a five-point lead at the 18:02 mark of the second half, Dordt responded with a punishing 19-5 run. The surge staked the Defenders to a 56-47 advantage that Concordia would never recover from.

Sophomore guard Joel Haywood, who poured in a team best 15 points, tried to fuel a comeback with a 3-pointer with 8:51 to play to get the Bulldogs within 57-52. However, Dordt ran in the next five points and maintained a lead of eight points or more the rest of way.

Despite a focus on limiting Defender star Cliff Warner, the senior guard ignited the Defenders’ big early second half rally with a 3-pointer and finished 5-for-10 from long range. Warner knocked in 17 points and extended his GPAC-leading 3-point field goal total to 68.

“They set some good picks for him and we lost him a couple times,” Kohlwey said. “The guy is an incredible shooter. Our goal was to hold him under 10 points.”

Dordt needed that kind of effort from Warner to overcome a solid first half effort from the Bulldogs. With Adam Vogt (11 starts this season) sidelined with an injury, Kohlwey installed a bigger lineup that included the 6-foot-7 Houchin, who made his second start of the campaign. This played a part in Concordia’s 40-34 edge in points in the paint and its ability to hold its own against one of the top rebounding teams in the GPAC.

“We tried Brent and Porter together, but we can’t always do that,” Kohlwey explained. “With foul trouble, we’ve got to be able to save one for the other. But it was a change we had to make because teams were taking advantage of our smaller lineup. Going bigger will help.”

Yet the Bulldogs missed Vogt’s scoring punch and came up with just 30 points in a second half that got away from them.

Concordia had four double-figure scorers with Haywood’s 15 points leading the way. Seniors Porter Birtell and Beau Smith both put in 11, while Charles Dunbar contributed 10 points and five assists.

“To Concordia’s credit, they did some good things and kept plugging away,” Defender head coach Ross Douma told KDCR Radio following the game. “They had us on our heels for the better part of the first half.”

Dordt’s Trevor Wolsterstorff (8-for-11 from the field) notched a game high 20 points to go along with six rebounds. Jordan Vogel chipped in 16 points and three blocks.

As a team, the Defenders blistered the nets with a 59.6 shooting percentage (28-for-47) while draining 16 of 22 shots from the free throw line. Concordia went 27-for-59 (45.8 percent) from the field.

The Bulldogs are now winless in six outings against ranked opponents this season and have lost nine in a row overall after a 5-1 start. Kohlwey’s bunch has played top 25 opponents in five of its last seven games, including three straight.

Concordia comes back home on Wednesday to play Hastings (14-5, 5-4 GPAC) in a game that will tip off at 7:30 p.m. A junior varsity contest will be held at 5:45 p.m. that night.

Sloppy play costs Bulldogs in loss to Hastings

09 JAN 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – Despite a sizzling 61.4 percent (27-for-44) shooting effort, Concordia tumbled 84-75 to rival Hastings (15-5, 6-4 GPAC) on Wednesday night at Walz Arena. The Bulldogs’ recent frustrations continued as they could not overcome their 26 turnovers and slumped to 5-11 overall and 2-8 in GPAC contests.

“We started off the first half just really hard and aggressive,” freshman wing Max Wegener said. “And second half – we need to play a full 40 minutes and really run our sets and keep everybody moving.”

Concordia led by as many as five points in the first half and made a late final charge with interior buckets by Wegener and senior poster Porter Birtell and a key 3-pointer by sophomore Joel Haywood. The Bulldogs cut into a nine-point deficit and trailed just 67-66 with less than five minutes to play.

The Broncos responded with a key 10-2 run that put them in control in the final two minutes. Hastings freshman guard Carson Blum capped the run by draining one of the team’s two 3-pointers on the night. Blum, who finished with 10 points, was one of five double-figure scorers for a balanced Bronco attack that made a living in the paint (52-46 edge in points in the paint).

Wegener again served as a bright spot in the midst of the Bulldogs’ current 10-game losing streak. The 6-foot-9 native of Wildwood, Mo., finished one point off his career high as he tallied 12 in the scoring column and added a career best seven rebounds. Wegener is averaging 10.3 points and 4.0 rebounds over the past three games.

“I’ve really had the opportunity lately to step in and do my part with this team,” Wegener said. “We’ve had many injuries and people out. I’m just blessed for the opportunity and I have to thank my teammates for working with me and getting me the ball.”

Birtell, one of three Bulldogs to foul out on the night, had an efficient 8-for-9 performance from the field and led all players with 17 points. Haywood (14) and seniors Charles Dunbar (12) and Beau Smith (11) also reached double-figures in scoring.

Concordia had little trouble finding the bottom of the net when it took care of the ball. However, Hastings’ 38-8 advantage in points off turnovers proved to be the major difference. Miscues allowed the Broncos to fire off 15 more shots than the Bulldogs. Hastings wound up shooting 29-for-59 (49.2 percent) from the field and 24-for-34 (70.6 percent) from the free throw line.

Junior forward Brett Wells paced the Broncos with 16 points on 6-for-6 shooting from the field and 4-for-4 shooting from the free throw line. He also was one of four Hastings players with multiple steals.

Concordia freshman Robby Thomas made his first start of the season on Wednesday. He blocked two shots in 15 minutes of action.

Head coach Marty Kohlwey’s squad will welcome Morningside (9-11, 4-6 GPAC) to Seward on Saturday for a 4 p.m. tilt inside Walz Arena. The Mustangs won 87-70 on Dec. 1 in Sioux City, Iowa, in the first meeting this season between the two teams. Morningside has won three-straight contests against the Bulldogs.

Houchin's 19 points not enough to get by Morningside

12 JAN 2013

By Tyler Scott

SEWARD, Neb.—  Concordia (5-12, 2-9) could not make a valuable run in an 86-64 loss to Morningside (10-11, 5-6 GPAC) Saturday at Walz Arena. Senior Brent Houchin tied a career high with 19 points, which he first set on Jan. 1, 2011, against Friends (Kan.). 

“We knew we had mismatches inside and I was able to get the ball in the right spots,” Houchin said.

Despite Houchin’s play, Concordia failed to find any magic on the offensive side of the ball. The Bulldogs shot 41 percent for the game, and 3 of 15 from beyond the arc. Sophomore Joey Werning provided nine points, five rebounds, and two steals off the bench for the Bulldogs.

Morningside scored 52 points and shot a scorching 53 percent in the second half, helping them run away with a win. The Mustangs finished 48 percent from the field and 7 of 24 from beyond the arc.

Concordia senior Porter Birtell also finished in double figures scoring 11 points, but the team’s turnover to assist ratio was an uncharacteristic 14 to 13. Freshmen Robby Thomas and Max Wegener provided some valuable minutes for the team. Wegener chipped in six points on 2 of 4 shooting, while Thomas failed to score.

“They’ve been put into some pretty tough situations,” Houchin said. “I’m proud that they’ve been able to step in and mature and we’re going to need them the rest of the season.”

Concordia trailed 34-22 at halftime, but Morningside scampered away in the second half.  Morningside went on a 24-10 run and gave them a 25 point lead of 72-47 with less than six minutes to play. Tanner Miller led the Mustangs with 17 points, while O’Neill finished with 15.

Concordia’s biggest stretch was 17-14 to end the game with Wegener and Werning combining for 13 of the team’s 42 second half points.

The Bulldogs have now lost 11 in a row after starting the season 5-1. Houchin said the current stretch is unpleasant, and the team needs to find a spark to climb out of the hole.

“This is a pretty sick feeling and we have to find a way to put in two good halves,” Houchin said.  “We have to keep believing and can’t lose faith. We have three road games in a row coming up and I know we can win those games.”

Concordia’s next matchup is Wednesday against Midland University (11-8, 6-5 GPAC) in Fremont, Neb. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.

Midland mows down Bulldogs

16 JAN 2013

FREMONT, Neb. – Midland raced out to an 11-2 advantage and continued its dominance over 40 minutes to take a 91-64 decision over visiting Concordia on Wednesday. The Warriors used a white-hot first half to snap a three-game losing streak and improve to 12-8 overall and 7-5 in GPAC action. The Bulldogs slumped to 5-13 overall and 2-10 in conference play.

“They came out really ready to be physical and we weren’t able to match that,” Bulldog head coach Marty Kohlwey said. “We played hard but not physical enough. Part of it is having a young team in certain spots. We have to have our players grow up and learn how to play defense.”

The Warriors’ James Parrott put an exclamation mark on the Warriors’ big first half run with an impressive one-handed dunk in transition. The high-flying wing from Omaha had his way with Concordia as he put up 21 first half points and 27 for the game. With a defender in his face, Parrott drained a long 3-pointer to beat the first half buzzer.

He had plenty of help from teammates like Dylan Travis, who caught fire midway through the first half when the game got away from the Bulldogs. Travis made all three of his 3-point field goals in the first half in a span of less than three minutes, the last one opening up a 36-20 lead.

Concordia made a push late in the first half with an 8-0 spurt capped by a Joel Haywood bucket that got the Bulldogs within 15 points with 2:56 left until the break. But the Warriors responded with a 10-1 blitz to make for a daunting 53-29 deficit for Concordia after 20 minutes of action.

The Warriors coasted in the second half with their lead never shrinking below 21 points while growing as large as 29. Midland held significant advantages in 3-point field goals (11-5), rebounding (37-25) and in turnover margin (plus-eight).

On the plus side, the Bulldogs shot 51.0 percent (25-for-49) from the field. Senior post Porter Birtell made all four of his field goal attempts and finished with nine points and four rebounds. Fellow senior Beau Smith went 5-for-6 on the way to a team high 14 points.

However, Concordia must knock down more shots from the outside to stop teams from packing it in inside.

“Everybody’s looking to stop our post game, so we end up turning it over a lot on passes into the post,” Kohlwey said. “We need to move the ball around better and get our guys to stay in motion. When we do that our offense works pretty well.”

Wednesday’s contest was a rematch of the Nov. 28 battle played in Seward. Midland won that game 88-81 in overtime.

The Bulldogs will remain on the road on Sunday when they take on Dakota Wesleyan (9-12, 4-7 GPAC) in Mitchell, S.D., at 4 p.m. The Tigers picked up a 75-65 win inside Walz Arena over Concordia on Dec. 8.

Voss carries Tigers over Bulldogs

20 JAN 2013

MITCHELL, S.D. – The prolific interior production of Dakota Wesleyan 6-foot-7 forward Jalen Voss was on full display on Sunday evening as he led the Tigers to a 79-63 victory in Mitchell, S.D. Host Dakota Wesleyan effectively limited Concordia’s touches in the post while feeding Voss on the offensive end. Concordia slumped to 5-14 overall and 2-11 in GPAC action.

Concordia’s lone first half 3-point field goal – a top of the key jumper from freshman Robby Thomas – gave it a 22-19 lead at the 7:30 mark of the first half. The Bulldogs then went the remainder of the half without a field goal as they struggled to knock down perimeter shots (4-for-16 from beyond the arc). This allowed the Tigers to focus on containing Concordia posts Porter Birtell and Brent Houchin.

The duo was efficient when catching ball on the block, but could not receive the ball inside enough as the Tigers often fronted the post. Birtell, who entered play second in NAIA Division II with a field goal percentage of 65.6, dropped in 5 of 8 shots from the field for 12 points.

Voss, the only GPAC player who averages a double-double (points and rebounds), went for a game high 26 points on 10-for-17 shooting. Most of his buckets came from point-blank range as he dominated in the paint. He tallied eight points during the Tigers’ 20-5 run to close the first half, which staked them to a 39-27 advantage. The native of Worthington, Minn., also hauled in eight rebounds.

Senior guard Beau Smith tried to ignite a late rally. He connected on back-to-back bombs to get Concordia within 68-57 with 3:05 left to play. The Bulldogs would get no closer the rest of the way as Dakota Wesleyan responded on its ensuing possession with a layup after getting an offensive rebound.

Smith, Birtell and Houchin combined for 43 points, led by the 19 of Smith. The trio went 18-for-32 from the field while the rest of the team managed only 6-for-25 shooting.

Thomas, a freshman wing, came through with his best game in a Bulldog uniform. The Shawnee, Kan., native posted a line of nine points and six rebounds in 23 minutes – all career highs.

The Tigers out-shot Concordia 49.1 percent to 42.1 percent. Dakota Wesleyan also drained 18 of 22 free throws compared to the Bulldogs’ 11-for-18 effort from the charity stripe.

Concordia will get another shot at No. 17 Doane (20-3, 10-3 GPAC) on Wednesday in Crete. Tip off is set for 7 p.m. The Tigers picked up a win at Walz Arena on Dec. 12 by a 77-67 score. Doane sits in first place in the GPAC, a half-game ahead of No. 5 Northwestern (9-3).

Late rally falls short at Doane

23 JAN 2013

CRETE, Neb. – Playing a ranked opponent for the seventh time this season, Concordia fell 85-77 to host and 12th-ranked Doane on Wednesday night in Crete, Neb. The Tigers held off a hard-charging Bulldog squad in the final minutes to remain atop the GPAC. Concordia dropped to 5-15 overall and 2-12 in GPAC action.

Bulldog senior point guard Charles Dunbar enjoyed the best game of his career in a Bulldog uniform. The St. Louis, Mo., native led the charge as Concordia cut a 17-point second half deficit all the way down to one with 1:41 to play. Dunbar poured in a career high 23 points, including a key 3-pointer that initiated the 13-2 spurt that made it a nailbiter.

“We’ve changed our offense a little bit to add more freedom,” Concordia head coach Marty Kohlwey said. “Most of Chuck’s success was due to him making up his mind and having the confidence to do it. It’s not like he had a poor defender on him. Chuck can drive by anyone when he’s playing with confidence.”

Doane responded in crunch time with five crucial unanswered points on its next two possessions after the Bulldogs had gotten within one. On the second of those trips down the court, Nick Reed converted on a demoralizing 3-point play to virtually end Concordia’s bid at a huge road upset with the score at 81-75 and only :32 left on the clock.

Reed and the GPAC’s top freshman Connor Beranek were a thorn in the Bulldogs’ side all night. Reed piled up 33 points on 13 of 22 shooting and Beranek posted a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Even so, the nationally-ranked Tigers were pushed to the brink.

“I don’t think people understand the adversity our players have gone through this season,” Kohlwey said. “We have talked about creating a culture where people are encouraging each other, believing in each other and staying strong no matter what.”

That resolve helped Concordia hang with Doane despite star post Porter Birtell leaving the game with an injury after only five minutes of action. On the plus side, junior guard Adam Vogt returned to the court and played 13 minutes on Wednesday after being sidelined since Jan. 2.

Sophomore guard Joey Werning answered the call for improved outside shooting in the first half when he buried a pair of triples, the second one pulling Concordia within 32-25 at the 4:14 mark. Zach Chrzan followed by muscling in two points in the paint and it was 32-27. That’s when Doane went on a 21-9 run to grab its largest lead of the night.

Concordia had three double-figure scorers in addition to Dunbar: Brent Houchin (13), Beau Smith (12) and Joel Haywood (11).

While the Bulldogs are still looking for their first win against opponents who are ranked at the time of the game, Concordia owns a win against now No. 22 York. Bulldogs defeated the Panthers 97-88 at York on Nov. 2 to open the season.

Concordia takes a break from GPAC action on Friday and Saturday to host the 62nd annual Concordia Invitational Tournament inside Walz Arena. The Bulldogs take on Concordia-Chicago on Friday at 8 p.m. and then continue action on Saturday against either Concordia-Ann Arbor or Concordia-Wisconsin. Click HERE for more information on the event.

Bulldogs hold off Cougars in front of electric CIT crowd

26 JAN 2013

SEWARD, Neb – Two teams thirsting for a victory took the court in front of an electric crowd at Walz Arena on day one of the 62nd annual Concordia Invitational Tournament. The Bulldogs held off a late rally from visiting Concordia-Chicago to claim a 75-71 victory in Friday’s night cap. Head coach Marty Kohlwey’s squad, now 6-15 overall, will play Concordia-Wisconsin in the men’s title game at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

“With CIT anything goes. It doesn’t matter what your records are. It doesn’t matter what your shooting percentage is through the year,” Kohlwey said in alluding to both teams ability to put behind their prior struggles.

With the backing of a near capacity crowd, the Bulldogs appeared poised to take control by putting up big runs in both halves. However, the Cougars (2-17) fought back each time with senior wing Khirey Floyd leading the charge. The Bulldogs could not rest easy until Joel Haywood canned a pair of free throws in the final seconds to provide the four-point margin.

Senior wing Beau Smith, last year’s CIT MVP, came up big once again for the Bulldogs with 19 points and 10 rebounds. The native of McKinney, Texas, connected on a pair of treys during CUNE’s 18-2 run in the second half that allowed for a 55-42 advantage. Smith finished 3-for-4 from beyond the arc.

“He is such a leader,” Kohlwey said of Smith. “He does an excellent job defensively and offensively. He’s an emotional leader for the guys. He hit some huge shots to put us in the lead and to help us win.”

With his family amongst the jam-packed onlookers at Walz Arena, Smith had even a little extra motivation on Friday.

“It’s hard not to play good when you have fans like that and you have family here,” Smith said. “Everyone’s got someone here that they want to play here. All my family’s here – people surprised me. If you don’t get up for CIT, you don’t get up for anything.”

But yet the Cougars nearly came all the way back from a 15-point deficit with only 6:46 left in the game. Floyd drilled four 3-pointers in the final six minutes as the Cougars drew as close as 73-71. Teammate Brandon Johnson knocked down the last triple of the game from the left corner to make the Bulldogs sweat it out. Floyd ended up 6-for-8 from 3-point range and downed a game high 26 points.

With star Porter Birtell sidelined on Friday, junior Adam Vogt, who just came back on Wednesday from an injury of his own, picked up some of the slack with 13 points. He connected on 2 of 4 attempts from long range and added three assists.

Senior Brent Houchin, bloodied during action with a cut to the forehead, added 10 points. Freshman Robby Thomas continued his great play with eight points of his own on 4-for-4 shooting.

Saturday's championship against Concordia-Wisconsin will be a rematch of last season’s CIT final in which the Bulldogs won 69-67 thanks to a game-winning 3-pointer from Smith. Concordia-Nebraska has the most CIT titles all-time with 24.

“It’s going to be a tough game tomorrow. Concordia-Wisconsin’s an excellent team,” Kohlwey said.

Smith, who fondly remembers last year’s CIT championship, has his sights set on another title in 2013.

“It was one of the best experiences of my life (last year),” Smith said. “I had my whole family there and we won the championship. There’s nothing better than winning CIT just for the pride of your school. I expect the same thing tomorrow, but we’ve got to work hard.”

Bulldogs drop heartbreaker in CIT title game

26 JAN 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – For the second-straight year, the Bulldogs met Concordia-Wisconsin in the Concordia Invitational Tournament title game, this time with a different result. The visiting Falcons came all the way back from a 13-point deficit to clip the Bulldogs, 64-62, on Saturday on the way to earning their third CIT championship in school history.

Last season it was the Bulldogs’ Beau Smith who struck a dagger in the hearts of the Falcons with a buzzer-beating shot to lift Concordia to the 2012 CIT title victory. Concordia-Wisconsin flipped the script in 2013 by securing the victory late with Mark Pace coming up huge down the stretch. Pace piled up 11 points in the final 4:16 of the game, including the tying and go-ahead shots in the last three minutes.

“I told our guys that that was a very good team that we played tonight,” Kohlwey said. “That was a deep, deep team and they hit tough shots down the stretch.

“It’s difficult to handle a loss like that, but last year we did the same thing to Wisconsin. We won at the buzzer by two points. They had that drive home and the sting of a loss.”

CUNE (6-16) had a chance to again send the Falcons reeling in the final seconds. After nearly turning the ball over, junior guard Adam Vogt corralled the rock near half court, dribbled past a defender and pulled up for a long 3-pointer that caromed off the rim and into the hands of Beau Smith. Smith’s shot was knocked away by Pace and the celebration was on for Concordia-Wisconsin.

The combination of CIT MVP Brian Jackson (14.5 ppg in two CIT games) and fellow all-tournament honoree Steve Zielinski proved to be a potent combo for the Falcons (13-7) over the weekend. They combined for 20 points on 8-for-14 shooting in the title game.

Playing again without star post Porter Birtell, the Bulldogs got plenty of scoring punch from guards Vogt and Joel Haywood, who knocked home 5 of 9 3-point attempts collectively. Vogt’s third and final 3-pointer came at the 16:40 mark of the second half and gave CUNE its largest lead at 40-27 and sparked a rowdy crowd into furor.

“I really want to recognize Joel Haywood,” Kohlwey said. “There was a confidence in Joel that was really good to see in a big game. So with him playing like that and Adam and Beau, we are a very good team that way. And then Brent (Houchin) played well too tonight with a broken whatever. He keeps getting busted up in the face.”

However, the Falcons never panicked and slowly chipped away at the Bulldog lead, finally taking an advantage it would not relinquish when Pace scored in the paint. CUNE traded points over the next combined four possessions before coming up empty on its bid to win in the final five seconds.

Houchin embodied the kind of season it has been for the Bulldogs. With a band aid on his forehead and gauze in his nose, Houchin turned in 16 hard-earned points down low. For the second-straight game he had to switch out his No. 40 jersey for No. 50 after blood dripped onto the cloth.

For Concordia-Wisconsin, the CIT title is its first since 2010 and second under head coach Shawn Cassidy. The Bulldogs still lead with 24 CIT titles in the event’s 62-year history.

While the outcome of Saturday’s championship games did not go as hoped for the Bulldogs, Walz Arena rocked and rolled in the glow of the bright lights that accompany the historic event.

The Bulldogs return to GPAC play on Wednesday when rival Nebraska Wesleyan makes the short drive west to Walz Arena for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff that follows a junior varsity contest. Concordia defeated Nebraska Wesleyan 68-65 in Lincoln, Neb., on Nov. 20.

Nebraska Wesleyan rallies past Bulldogs

30 JAN 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – Despite leading nearly the entire first half, the host Bulldogs relinquished an advantage as large as 11 points and went down 77-67 to rival Nebraska Wesleyan on Wednesday night. The Prairie Wolves wore down Concordia and rode the hot hand of Jonah Bradley to salvage a season split between the two teams. The Bulldogs’ mark declined to 6-17 overall and 2-13 in GPAC action.

With Concordia teammates in senior Beau Smith and freshman Max Wegener matching each other point-for-point in the first half, the Bulldogs built an 11-point lead. It was Smith’s triple at the 7:24 mark of the first half that capped an 8-0 run that lifted Concordia to a 25-14 lead. The Smith trey came on the heels of five-consecutive points from Wegener.

“We executed our offense well. We were able to, defensively, slow them down a little bit,” Bulldog head coach Marty Kohlwey said. “The only thing I was disappointed with in the first half was they scored on some offensive rebounds. They seemed to be getting to the loose balls better than we were.”

The Bulldog offensive attack flowed well for most of the night. They shot 50 percent in the first half and 48.1 percent (26-for-54) for the game. Kohlwey’s squad turned it over only 11 times, but three of them came consecutively midway through the second half as Nebraska Wesleyan (10-11, 5-11 GPAC) mounted a spurt that would ultimately prove fatal for the Bulldogs.

Bradley, a 6-foot junior from Norfolk, Neb., took advantage down the stretch. He deposited 15 of his game high 24 points over the final 10 minutes, including his dagger of a 3-point shot with 4:02 left that upped the Prairie Wolf lead to 11. Bradley entered the night fourth on the team with an average of 8.4 points per game.

With a roster devoid of the injured Porter Birtell, Concordia was forced to use Brent Houchin, Joel Haywood, Smith and Adam Vogt each for 30 minutes or more. Kohlwey believes he’ll need to keep those guys fresh to improve the team’s play late in games.

“I felt in the second half that Brent and Beau in particular were getting worn down,” Kohlwey said. “I was trying to get them some rest, but it didn’t work out as well as I’d like it to.”

The Prairie Wolf offense fired on all cylinders in the second half. With their methodical approach, Nebraska Wesleyan found openings and converted on 57.7 percent (12-for-26) of its second-half shots.

“Nebraska Wesleyan executes you to death. Everybody knows that,” Kohlwey said. “It’s almost like when Tom Osborne was coaching Nebraska. If you fell behind it would be tough to get out of because they run ball control. It’s somewhat similar to that with Wesleyan. They take care of the ball, they execute and they run clock.”

Smith finished with 18 points and seven rebounds to lead Concordia in both categories. Haywood made 7 of 11 shots for 16 points and Wegener tied a career high with 13 points.

The Bulldogs hit the road on Saturday to play fifth-ranked Northwestern (18-5, 12-3 GPAC) at 4 p.m. The Red Raiders have won seven of eight and sit in first place in the GPAC. Northwestern rolled to a 94-74 victory over Concordia inside Walz Arena on Jan. 2. Last season the Bulldogs blitzed the Red Raiders by a 94-75 score in Orange City, Iowa, on Jan. 4, 2012.

Amid season-ending injury, Birtell thankful for Bulldog career

01 FEB 2013

Concordia star senior post player Porter Birtell will miss the remainder of his senior season as a Bulldog due to various injuries, the team has announced. Birtell suffered a concussion on Jan. 23 at Doane while also playing with a torn pectoral muscle and shin splints.

“I would like to thank everyone for all their prayers and support over these last four years,” Birtell wrote in a statement. “I would especially like to thank my parents, coaches, teammates, fans and certainly my savior Jesus for the wonderful privilege of playing for the Bulldogs. Wearing the Concordia jersey and representing the university has been a great honor. I praise God for giving me such an awesome opportunity to glorify Him!”

Despite playing with significant pain this season, Birtell led the Bulldogs in scoring at 13.6 points per game and ranked second with 5.2 rebounds per contest in 20 games. The native of Madison, Neb., finishes his four-year Concordia career with 1,390 points and 712 rebounds. He was nearly automatic once he touched the ball in the paint as he shot 61.8 percent from the field in 101 career games.

“His faith is evident and he has given so much for this team,” head coach Marty Kohlwey said. “This was especially evident during this season as he has dealt with multiple injuries throughout while playing with constant pain.”

Last season Birtell averaged 17.2 points and 8.3 rebounds on the way to First Team All-GPAC and Honorable Mention All-America honors.

Birtell had his most dominant performance of his career last season when he piled up 37 points while making all 12 shots from the field in a 94-75 upset of then No. 14 Northwestern on the road. In his career, Birtell notched 17 games with 20 or more points.

Balanced scoring powers No. 5 Northwestern over Bulldogs

02 FEB 2013

ORANGE CITY, Iowa – Visiting Concordia jumped No. 5 Northwestern early thanks to a hot start by senior Beau Smith, but the GPAC-leading Red Raiders roared back. Their 18-3 run in the latter part of the second half built a double-digit lead to help carry Northwestern to an 82-55 victory on Saturday. The Bulldogs slumped to 6-18 overall and 2-14 in GPAC action.

The Bulldogs rode the hot hand of Smith early as he poured in eight of the team’s first nine points. His 3-pointer at the 17:45 mark of the first half made it 9-3 in favor of Concordia. But a severe drought would soon follow. The Red Raiders held the Bulldogs scoreless on 10-straight possessions and took a 40-31 lead to the half.

Sophomore Zach Chrzan provided the highlight of the night for Concordia when he sank a 45-foot shot off the assist from Robby Thomas to beat the halftime buzzer. Chrzan finished with a career high-tying 11 points, equaling his previous best of which he accomplished versus Kansas Wesleyan on Nov. 9.

Despite strong efforts from Chrzan and Smith, the Red Raiders tacked onto their lead in the second half. Levi Ettleman drained a 3-pointer to cap a 10-3 spurt to begin the second half. A similar run in the latter stages of the second half increased the Northwestern lead to 72-48. The Red Raiders cruised from that point on.

Northwestern (19-5, 13-3 GPAC) used a balanced scoring attack to maintain its grip on the top of the conference. The Red Raiders had five double-digit scorers on the afternoon: Ettleman (15), Josh VanderPlaats (14), Ben Miller (13), Joey Habtemariam (11) and Daniel Van Kalsbeek (10). They powered the host to a stout 51.9 field goal percentage.

The Bulldogs were led by Smith’s 13 points. The native of McKinney, Texas, was productive once again while being limited to 20 minutes on Saturday due to foul trouble.

Senior guard Phil Friedrich provided quality minutes off the bench with six points and three rebounds.

The game marked the eighth time this season the Bulldogs have faced a ranked opponent. Three of those contests have come against teams ranked in the top 10 at the time of the game.

Concordia played without the services of both senior Porter Birtell and junior Adam Vogt. Sophomore Daniel Grundmeier and freshman Nigel Stephenson saw action at the varsity level on Saturday for the first time in their careers.

Concordia will host Briar Cliff (18-8, 9-7 GPAC) on Wednesday at 8 p.m. inside Walz Arena. In the first meeting between the two squads, the then No. 25 Chargers topped the Bulldogs 75-68 in Sioux City, Iowa, on Dec. 5.

Bulldogs show toughness in loss to Briar Cliff

06 FEB 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – Decimated by injuries, the Bulldogs pushed a hot Briar Cliff team to the waning seconds before falling 74-70 inside Walz Arena on Wednesday night. Concordia senior Brent Houchin tried to make up for the loss of three starters by piling up a career high 26 points. It just wasn’t enough as the Bulldogs dropped to 6-19 overall and 2-15 in GPAC play.

“Offensively it’s difficult when we’re missing so many people,” Kohlwey said. “Our execution was pretty good. I’m really proud of how hard these guys played. They just played really well.”

Buoyed by Houchin’s consistent scoring in the paint, Concordia nearly ended its skid in conference action. Houchin was a machine once he got the ball in the paint. He used an array of post moves to drain 9 of 13 shots from the field while making 8 of 10 from the free throw line. The 26 points were seven more than his previous career high of 19, a total he has reached twice.

“I know I could of played a lot better than I did Saturday (at Northwestern), so I came out these last few practices trying to keep working hard and working on my post moves,” Houchin said. “I have to credit my teammates though. They got me the ball right where I needed it in good spots.”

The Bulldogs held a lead as large as eight points in the first half. Fellow senior Beau Smith drilled a 3-pointer off the assist from sophomore Joel Haywood to make it 25-17 at the 5:26 mark of the half. The Chargers turned the game around by ending the half on an 11-2 run.

Briar Cliff (19-8, 10-7 GPAC) held the lead most of the second half, but Houchin would never allow the Chargers to run away. He piled up 18 of Concordia’s 41 second half points to allow it to hang right with a team that recently defeated No. 16 Doane. The visiting Chargers could not breathe easy until Taylor Murren made one of two free throws with :2.0 left to provide the final tally.

Senior Jake Shipley tied Murren for the team lead with 15 points and made a crucial 3-pointer that extended the Charger lead to 67-62 with 2:06 left. The Bulldogs charged back to within 69-67 after Haywood connected on one of two at the line with :17 to play. Concordia would manage just a single Houchin free throw the rest of the way.

The Bulldogs fell despite shooting 51.2 percent compared to 41.1 percent for Briar Cliff.

Concordia got 14 points from Haywood and 12 points and five rebounds from Smith.

The Bulldogs played Wednesday without three starters as Porter Birtell missed his fourth-straight game, Adam Vogt sat out his second-consecutive game and Charles Dunbar was sidelined for the first time this season. The trio had combined for 61 starts on the season.

Saturday’s 4 p.m. game versus No. 15 Dordt (21-6, 13-5 GPAC) marks the home finale for the Bulldogs. Five seniors will be recognized as part of Senior Day acknowledgements: Birtell, Dunbar, Phil Friedrich, Houchin and Smith. The Defenders posted a 79-66 victory over Concordia on Jan. 5.

“Dordt is good team. They’ve gotten us the last two or three times,” Houchin said. “It’s just been a frustrating season – it would just be a great gift if we could get a win on Saturday.”

No. 15 Dordt overcomes spirited Bulldog effort on Senior Day

09 FEB 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – A greater electricity permeated Walz Arena on an afternoon when five seniors were recognized prior to the Bulldogs’ final home game of the 2012-13 season on Saturday. No. 15 Dordt, still clinging to conference title hopes, fended off a spirited Concordia bunch and picked up an 84-73 road win. The Bulldogs stand at 6-20 overall and 2-16 in GPAC action with two games remaining in the season.

Senior guard Phil Friedrich saved his best performance for his final game in front of the Walz crowd. He provided his typical energy off the bench and was nearly flawless shooting the ball from the field. He flashed his dependable mid-range jumper as he connected on 7 of 9 field goal attempts for 18 points.

“My offensive play is based entirely on my teammates,” Friedrich said. “If it wasn’t for the bigs setting me screens and the guards getting me good passes – I really don’t have too much of an offensive game outside of that. My jumpers are all created by the other guys on the team. I’m thankful for all of them out there.”

Concordia cut a 12-point halftime deficit to just three after an 11-2 run to start the second stanza. The Bulldogs made another push late in the game after a Dordt run. Friedrich’s jumper from near the right wing got Concordia within 67-60 with 6:38 left for a glimmer of hope.

The Defenders (22-6, 14-5 GPAC) were simply too much on the interior. They out-numbered the Bulldogs 40-30 on points in the paint and held a 39-29 rebound advantage. Dordt wing Trevor Wolterstorff went for a game high 25 points while adding nine rebounds. He teamed with senior Jordan Vogel (14 points, 10 rebounds) to combine for a lethal performance on the interior.

Their efforts sent Concordia to defeat on Senior Day. Friedrich and teammates Porter Birtell, Charles Dunbar, Brent Houchin and Beau Smith were acknowledged prior to the game for their contributions to the program. Birtell, sidelined for the rest of the season, missed his sixth-consecutive game while Dunbar returned to action after sitting out Wednesday’s game.

“It’s been a good group of guys that we came in with,” Friedrich said. “Brent, Porter and I were the three original seniors and then Beau and Chuck joined us. We’ve been glad to take them on. It’s an emotional time to play your last game here.”

Friedrich’s 18 points topped his previous career high by 10 points. The Seward native posted eight points on two occasions this season – versus Bethel (Kan.) on Nov. 10 and against Midland on Nov. 28.

Friedrich and company were crippled by a 12-2 Dordt run midway through the second half. Wolsterstorff stole the show by producing a consistent scoring effort (13 first-half points, 12 second-half points). That allowed the Defenders to pull away any time the Bulldogs made a run.

Smith fell just shy of a double-double with 15 points and eight rebounds. He nailed 3 of 5 attempts from 3-point range. Haywood was Concordia’s only other double-figure scorer was sophomore Joel Haywood with 11. Houchin posted nine points and six boards.

Concordia will finish up the season with a pair of conference road games beginning with Hastings (19-9, 10-8 GPAC) at 8 p.m. on Wednesday. The 2012-13 campaign will come to an end next Saturday when the Bulldogs travel to play Mount Marty (7-20, 3-15 GPAC) at 4 p.m.

Hastings rides fast start to win over Bulldogs

13 FEB 2013

HASTINGS, Neb. – The host Broncos blitzed Concordia with a 15-2 start right out of the gate and never looked back. Hastings completed the sweep of the season series with the Bulldogs by winning 83-63 on Wednesday night. With one game left on the schedule, Concordia fell to 6-21 overall and 2-17 in GPAC action.

Senior forward Brent Houchin did his best to give the Bulldogs a chance. He made his first seven field goal attempts of the night and finished 9-for-13 with 25 points – one off his career high. He is averaging 20.0 points and 5.3 rebounds over his last three games. On Wednesday the Bruning, Neb., had the mid-range jumper popping in addition to his tough, unconventional inside scoring.

The scoring binge by Houchin with help from fellow senior Beau Smith allowed the Bulldogs to go on a 10-0 spurt that cut a 20-point deficit down to 10 late in the first half. The steadiness of the two veterans enabled Concordia to settle into the game after committing a barrage of early turnovers that led to the large Hastings lead.

The Bulldogs competed closely with the Broncos the rest of the way as the Hastings’ lead hovered around 10 points throughout much of the second half. Concordia tightened its handle on the ball and found Houchin and Wegener (10 points on 4-for-4 shooting) more consistently on the interior for easy points.

The game got away from the Bulldogs late when they started shooting and missing 3-pointers early in the shot clock. Concordia shot 41.8 percent (23-for-55) from the field but only 15.4 percent (2-for-13) from beyond the arc. That cold shooting down the stretch allowed Hastings to take a nine-point lead up to the final margin of 20.

Houchin and Wegener were the only double-figure scorers for the Bulldogs on this night. Smith finished with five points and a team high seven rebounds. Concordia got good production from a pair of sophomores as Zach Chrzan tallied nine points and Joey Werning dished out five assists.

Senior Phil Friedrich, who became the 11th different Bulldog to start a game this season when he took the floor against Dordt, started for the second-straight time. Werning made his third start on Wednesday.

Bronco head coach Lance Creech roamed the sidelines for the final time in a regular-season home game for Hastings on Wednesday. Creech announced that he will resign at the end of this season, his 11th at the helm of the program.

The Bulldogs will complete the 2012-13 season on Saturday when they travel to Yankton, S.D., to challenge Mount Marty (7-21, 3-16 GPAC) at 4 p.m. Concordia began the conference season with a 66-63 victory over the Lancers on Nov. 17 in Seward. Mount Marty’s most recent win came on Jan. 16 when it upset then No. 12 Dordt, 77-60.

Concordia ends season with loss at Mount Marty

16 FEB 2013

YANKTON, S.D. – A frustrating season came to a close at Mount Marty on Saturday as the Bulldogs fell 84-48 in Yankton, S.D. The host Lancers rode the hot hand of Joe Hieb and enjoyed a large advantage for much of the game. Head coach Marty Kohlwey’s squad has completed the 2012-13 season with an overall record of 6-22 and 2-18 mark in GPAC action.

The numbers tell the story of Mount Marty’s dominance on its Senior Day. The Lancers blistered the nets to the tune of 56.2 percent from the field while limiting Concordia to 24.2 percent. The senior Hieb enjoyed a huge day with 43 points on 15-for-19 shooting from the field.

Hieb tallied 12 of the Lancers’ first 14 points as they built a big lead early while padding it the rest of the game. Concordia never found an offensive rhythm in either half and was unable to limit the white-hot Hieb.

Although Concordia ends its season with far more losses than wins, Kohlwey likes the way his team stuck together and remained competitive in a large number of games despite all the adversity it faced. The quartet of Porter Birtell, Charles Dunbar, Beau Smith and Adam Vogt missed a combined 23 games due to injury this season. That came in addition to the coaching switch in mid-October.

“I think the focus needs to be on the quality of the seniors and the character of those five guys despite all the difficulty we’ve had,” Kohlwey said. “That’s what we focused on in the locker room after the game. We have to be proud of who they are.

“With the underclassmen we talked about having them focus this offseason on getting better and never letting this happen again.”

Seniors Beau Smith and Brent Houchin put together solid games as they donned the Bulldog jersey for the final time in their careers. Smith posted a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds while Houchin added 14 points and seven rebounds as he continued his strong late-season play.

For 2013-14, Concordia will bring back standout sophomore guard Joel Haywood along with backcourt mate Adam Vogt and promising freshmen Robby Thomas and Max Wegener. Sophomore Andrew Bowers will return from injury to provide another presence inside to help make up for the graduation of Birtell.

Concordia search for new men's basketball head coach underway

20 FEB 2013

SEWARD, Neb. - Concordia University has announced the opening of the position of men’s basketball head coach. Marty Kohlwey, who served as head coach during the 2012-13 season, will resume the role he filled prior to this season as the assistant coach. Kohlwey had taken over as head coach on Oct. 17 when previous head coach Grant Schmidt resigned.

“I am so thankful to God and the administration for the opportunity I have had to lead this team of amazing young men and for the choice to stay on as head coach,” Kohlwey said. “Through prayer and careful consideration, due to what I feel is best for the team and program, I am stepping out of the head coaching role. My gifts can best be used to serve the players and the future coach while pursuing other areas of ministry on campus.”

Led by Director of Athletics Devin Smith, the Concordia athletics department has initiated a national search to find the best candidate to fill the head coach position.

“First I want to thank Marty for the leadership he provided our men’s basketball program through this tough season,” Smith said. “We are grateful that Marty will remain with the team and continue to be an asset to our student-athletes.

“Our new head coach will embody Concordia University’s faith-based culture and will uphold the tradition of success on and off the court that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in our men’s basketball program.”

Since 1991, Bulldog men’s basketball has appeared in the national tournament nine times, including a runner up finish in 2005 and an appearance in the semifinals in 1992 at the NAIA Division II National Championships. Since becoming a member of the Great Plains Athletic Conference beginning with the 2000-01 season, Concordia has produced a league mark of better than .500 in seven seasons.

In addition to serving as the head coach this past season, Kohlwey, a 1983 Concordia graduate, assisted the men’s basketball program from 1999 to 2006. The Bulldogs went 128-63 during that stretch with three trips to the national tournament.

Concordia University, Nebraska, founded in 1894, is a fully accredited, coeducational university located in Seward, Neb. that currently serves over 2,200 students. Concordia offers more than 50 professional and liberal arts programs in an excellent academic and Christ-centered community that equips men and women for lives of learning, service and leadership in the church and world. For more information, visit cune.edu.