SEWARD, Neb. – It was nothing if not exciting. The Concordia University men’s basketball team let a 16-point second half lead slip away, but showed guts to rally in overtime and secure its first conference win of the 2018-19 season. The late scoring punch from Brevin Sloup and the interior defense of Chuol Biel was enough to eke out a 92-87 win over Hastings inside Walz Arena on Wednesday night (Nov. 14).
This would have been a particularly tough one to let get away for sixth-year head coach Ben Limback’s squad. In the end, it got the bounce back victory it needed after two conference road losses last week. The Bulldogs are now 4-2 overall and 1-2 in conference play.
“They made some nice adjustments at the half offensively and we had trouble defending (Kevin) Miller and some of their action in the second half,” Limback said “But I’m just so proud of our guys. There were some moments in the second half where we were stagnant and they had all of the momentum, and they we made some big plays down the stretch.
“How about Brevin Sloup? He was struggling. They were doing a good job on him. Then all of the sudden it’s overtime and he hit some huge, huge shots for us.”
Overtime felt like a bit of a letdown considering Concordia led 52-36 early in the second half. The Bulldogs led virtually the entire way until Logan Cale’s trey in the last minute knotted the score, 76-76. Concordia later turned it over on a possession in which the shot clock had been turned off. The Broncos (6-2, 2-1 GPAC) got one last shot in regulation, but Bart Hiscock’s contested layup did not go down.
From there it was a slippery Sloup for Hastings. The Seward High School product did not have a point at halftime, but then went off for 12 of his 19 during the overtime. In back-to-back possessions, Sloup dug the Bulldogs out of an 82-78 hole with a three-point play and then a trey. He later canned all four of his free throw attempts in the final 30 seconds in a heroic effort.
Concordia may not have gotten to that point without the work inside of Biel, who posted a line of 14 points, six rebounds and six blocked shots. He made 7-of-10 shots from the floor in the best offensive game of his young Bulldog career.
“We mostly wanted to get the ball out of their point guard’s hand,” Biel said of the team’s strategy heading into overtime. “We wanted to make his teammates create plays. There was a moment where it looked like it was slipping away, but we had a great defensive effort and got the game back.”
Indeed, Miller is a tough guard. He led Hastings with 26 points and 10 assists. He made 12-of-17 shots from the floor. Miller, Hiscock (19) and Brendan Lipovsky (15) combined for 60 of the team’s points. The Broncos shot 46.8 percent from the floor compared to 54.4 percent by Concordia.
Concordia put five players in double figures in the scoring column: Sloup (19), Tanner Shuck (16), Carter Kent (15), Biel (14) and Ryan Holt (10). Holt made big contributions off the bench. He nailed a clutch three late in regulation.
Said Limback, “I’m just so proud of our guys. After regulation when we had a chance to win it, I think we showed a lot of mental toughness coming out of there to come through in overtime.”
The Bulldogs now get set to welcome Jamestown (6-1, 1-1 GPAC) to Walz Arena on Saturday. The Jimmies won at Valley City State University (S.D.), 83-75, in nonconference action on Wednesday. Jamestown opened up GPAC play with a 104-98 home loss to 10th-ranked Briar Cliff before routing Doane, 90-60, last week.