Concordia University exploded for 54 points in the second half and pulled away for an easy 84-58 win over Doane College on Tuesday evening in Crete. The Bulldogs, ranked seventh in the NAIA, improved to 11-1 overall and 6-1 in conference play. Doane dropped to 7-5 overall and 4-4 in the GPAC.
The Bulldogs, who were off since December 10, started slow and struggled with missed shots and turnovers in the opening minutes of the contest. The defense stayed strong, however, and Concordia held an 8-2 lead with 15 minutes remaining. Doane quickly responded with a quick 7-0 run over the next two minutes to claim a 9-8 lead.
The Tigers rattled off four more points to take a 13-8 lead before a basket by Britney Birtell (Madison, Neb.) pulled Concordia back within three at 13-10. The Tigers followed with some easy baskets to take a 19-10 lead with just over 10 minutes left in the half. A layup by Lori Laboda (Parker, Colo.) stopped the Doane scoring run.
With Doane leading 21-12, Concordia used a quick 7-0 run to pull back within two. A 3-pointer by Ashley Daily pushed the Doane lead back to five, but a layup by Kristen Conahan (Omaha, Neb.) pulled Concordia back within three at 24-21. A pair of made free throws from Amber Kistler (Minatare, Neb.) pulled Concordia within one, and a 3-pointer in transition by Conahan gave the Bulldogs a 26-24 lead with less than four minutes to play in the half.
Both teams struggled with turnovers and missed opportunities down the stretch. A put back by Bailey Morris (Roseland, Neb.) gave Concordia a 30-26 advantage, and a free throw by Alyssa Willicott pulled Doane within three (30-27) at halftime.
Concordia forced 13 Doane turnovers in the first half. The Bulldogs were just 12-of-43 from the field, but 17 offensive rebounds and 14 points off turnovers gave Concordia the advantage. The Bulldogs had 43 shots in the half compared to just 26 for the Tigers. Conahan scored 10 first half points to lead the way offensively.
The Bulldogs settled in and completely controlled much of the second half. Concordia scored the opening eight points of the half to extend their lead. Doane didn’t score for over four minutes to open the half. A jumper by Cali Bellar ended the Bulldog scoring run and cut the deficit to nine at 38-29. Another quick four points cut the CU lead to five at 38-33 with just over 13 minutes remaining in regulation. The Tigers pulled within three, but back-to-back layups by Kistler pushed the Bulldog lead back to seven at 42-35. Kistler’s layups sparked Concordia, and the Bulldogs began to pull away.
With nine minutes remaining in regulation, the Bulldogs opened up a 54-41 lead. A pair of made free throws by Laboda increased the CU lead to 58-44. A jumper in transition by Jericca Pearson (Gibbon, Neb.) and a 3-pointer by Beth Kohmetscher (Deweese, Neb.) gave Concordia a 63-44 advantage with seven minutes to play. The Bulldogs poured it on down the stretch and secured the 84-58 victory.
Concordia finished just 29-of-81 (35.8 percent) from the field. However, CU held a commanding 53-38 rebounding advantage, including a 28-13 advantage in offensive rebounds. The Bulldogs finished with 33 points off turnovers and 25 second chance points in the victory. Kistler came on strong in the second half to finish with a game-high 23 points. Conahan added 12 points, and Laboda delivered a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds on the night. A total of 13 players scored for the Bulldogs.
Cheryl Braithwait scored a team-high 13 points for Doane. Cali Bellar and Madara Upeniece added 10 points apiece for the Tigers.
The Bulldogs travel to Colorado for the Johnson & Wales Classic on December 29 and 30.
For the third straight game, Concordia picked up an exciting victory to improve to improve to 7-5 overall and 3-4 in GPAC play. The Bulldogs outscored Doane 39-32 in the second half to pick up a 67-64 win on Tuesday evening in Crete. Doane slipped to 8-8 overall and 3-5 in conference play.
The Tigers had the quick start, jumping out to an 11-1 lead in the first four minutes of the contest. Concordia hung in there, and a jumper by Brian Towner (Houston, Texas) pulled the Bulldogs within five at 18-13. However, the Tigers answered with a 7-2 run to reclaim a double-digit lead at 25-15 with less than eight minutes remaining in the half.
A layup by Porter Birtell (Madison, Neb.) and a 3-pointer by Beau Smith (McKinney, Texas) got Concordia back in the game at 26-23 with five minutes to play in the half. Doane increased their lead back to nine, but a late run pulled the Bulldogs back within four (32-28) at the break.
Birtell scored nine first half points, while Smith added seven for the Bulldogs in the opening half. Jens Scholl was 4-of-5 from the field and scored nine first half points for the host Tigers. Doane was 9-of-11 at the foul line, while Concordia was just 1-of-2 from the line in the opening 20 minutes.
The Bulldogs came out firing in the early stages of the second half and pulled within one (34-33) on a 3-point play by Birtell. A 3-pointer by Tyler Byrd (Bennington, Neb.) tied the game at 36-36 with 17 minutes remaining. A 9-4 run gave Doane College a 45-40 advantage with 12 minutes to play. Another 3-pointer by Byrd pulled Concordia back within two, and a pair of made free throws by Charles Dunbar (St. Louis, Mo.) tied the score at 45-45.
Doane scored the next four points to take a 49-45 lead, but Smith answered with a 3-pointer from the corner to pull Concordia back within one with eight minutes remaining. A made free throw by Dunbar tied the game at 49-49. Birtell then gave the Bulldogs a 51-49 lead with two made free throws.
Concordia took a 53-49 lead with just over six minutes remaining on a layup by Smith. Dunbar had the assist on Smith’s basket. A tip in by Birtell increased CU’s lead to 55-49. A free throw by Nick Reed ended the Concordia scoring streak, and a Bulldog turnover led to a pair of made free throws by Josh Riser. Riser’s free throws cut the Concordia lead to three (55-52) with just over four minutes remaining.
Doane looked to have a little momentum, but a smooth jumper from the corner by Birtell increased the Bulldog lead back to five at 57-52. Smith increased the Concordia lead with two free throws, and Concordia held a 59-52 lead with just over three minutes remaining. A 3-pointer by Bryan Meyer pulled Doane back within three (59-56), and Scholl hit 1-of-2 free throws the make the score 59-57.
With two minutes remaining, Byrd hit a free throw to push the Concordia lead back to three, but Nick Reed responded with a pair of makes from the line to pull the Tigers within one. On Concordia’s next possession, Adam Vogt (Syracuse, Neb.) hit a tough jumper from the baseline to again give Concordia a 62-59 lead. Reed came right back for Doane, and his layup pulled the Tigers within one at 62-61. Concordia again had an answer, as Barrett Braun’s (Lakeside, Calif.) made the score 64-61 with just over a minute to play.
A Bulldog foul put Reed at the line, but he was only able to hit one to pull the Tigers within two. Byrd was unable to connect on a tough shot in the lane. Doane had a chance to tie or take the lead, but a 3-pointer by Mencl rimmed out. Byrd was fouled and again went 1-of-2 at the line to give the Bulldogs a 65-62 lead with 25 seconds left. Doane got a quick score from Riser to again trim the lead to one (65-64) with just 19 seconds left.
Haywood was fouled and hit both free throws to give the Bulldogs a 67-64 lead. Doane had one final attempt with just three seconds to play. A 3-pointer by Riser was blocked by Vogt, and the Bulldogs held on for the 67-64 victory.
Concordia was 24-of-53 from the field in the win for 45.3 percent. The Bulldogs were 6-of-19 from deep for 31.6 percent and 13-of-17 at the foul line for 76.5 percent. Smith and Birtell each scored 18 points for the Bulldogs. Birtell added 12 rebounds for the double-double. Byrd poured in 14 points and hit four 3-pointers on the night.
Doane was 19-of-51 from the field for 37.3 percent. The Tigers were just 6-of-20 from deep for 30 percent and 20-of-29 at the foul line for 69 percent. Four players scored in double figures for the Tigers, led Scholl’s 15 points. Riser added 14, while Reed and Meyer scored 10 apiece.
Concordia will take part in the Tabor College Tournament on December 30 and 31.