CRETE, Neb. – The Concordia University men’s basketball team may have seen more of the expected Doane team that received votes nationally in the preseason rather than the one that entered the night winless in conference play. The Bulldogs struggled to crack the 3-2 Tiger zone in what culminated in a 65-52 Concordia defeat inside the Haddix Center on Wednesday (Dec. 5).
Sixth-year head coach Ben Limback’s squad is still learning how to win within the rugged GPAC. Concordia has slipped to 7-5 overall and to 1-5 in conference play.
“Their length is really good and we knew that going in,” Limback said. “Early on I thought we got some good looks and once they didn’t fall, we panicked a little bit in that first half. We didn’t take care of the ball. We were second guessing things. We didn’t get in the gaps with the ball. We were soft with the ball. Against a team like this with this length you have to either shoot really well or take care of the ball to score it.”
Not much went according to plan offensively. The Bulldogs went 1-for-10 to start the game and suffered through a 17-6 Doane run over the final five-and-a-half minutes of the first half. Concordia did not have the firepower on this particular night to come back. It shot only 30 percent (9-for-30) in the first half and 32.3 percent (10-for-31) in the second half while committing 18 total turnovers.
The Bulldogs gave themselves a chance by playing solid defensively. After finding itself down by as many as 18 points (53-35), Concordia made a push by going on a 10-0 run that included eight-straight points delivered by point guard Brevin Sloup. With 5:25 to play, the Bulldogs had life down 53-45. Concordia drew no closer and watched Anthony Laravie drill a dagger in the right corner that made it a double-digit spread with less than 2:30 remaining.
The result did not come from a lack of effort on the part of the Bulldogs, who have been one of the GPAC’s top defensive teams from a statistical standpoint. Doane (4-8, 1-5 GPAC) was limited to 41.4 percent shooting. However, rebounding favored the Tigers.
“We had pretty good effort throughout the game,” Limback said. “There were some spurts where they outplayed us on the glass and got some second-chance points. There are things we could have controlled better with more of an aggressive mindset.”
Sloup led all scorers with 19 points (6-for-19 from the field). After a white-hot previous three games, Tanner Shuck went 5-for-16 from the floor and finished with 13 points. There was little other offensive production.
The Tigers, who have won three games in a row, placed three players into double figures. Laravie paced the victors with 16 points. Big man Trace Tupper added 12 points and 14 rebounds while Koh Flippin put up 11 points and eight rebounds. Doane outrebounded Concordia, 44-36.
The Bulldogs will be back at home on Saturday to welcome Mount Marty (3-9, 1-6 GPAC) to Walz Arena for a 4 p.m. CT tipoff. Mount Marty won the most recent meeting, 65-63, in Yankton, S.D., on Jan. 13 this past season. In Wednesday’s action, the Lancers fell by an 86-80 score to Dakota Wesleyan.