Concordia WBB gets past Hastings, Bulldog men’s team dominates

Concordia WBB gets past Hastings, Bulldog men’s team dominates
Photo: Ben Meyer, Concordia Athletics
January 26th, 2023 | pcyza

Third quarter splash lifts Bulldogs over Broncos


SEWARD, Neb. – A third quarter run of dominance took the drama out of it on Wednesday (Jan. 25) as the Concordia University Women’s Basketball team remained red hot. The Bulldogs allowed visiting Hastings only three field goals during the third period in the process of growing the advantage to as large as 18 points. Concordia turned away the Broncos, 73-62, with the help of a career high-tying 14 points from Abby Krieser.

Head Coach Drew Olson’s squad has gone 9-1 in its last 10 GPAC games while running its record to 13-7 overall (11-5 GPAC). Before revving up for the Concordia Invitational Tournament, the Bulldogs had to get this one first.

“We talked at halftime about being a little bit sharper defensively,” Olson said. “When we get stops, we can play a lot faster. I felt like in that stretch (third quarter), we played with really good pace and got a lot of easy baskets. They have a lot of confidence in each other. They’re really enjoying playing together. That goes a long way. I think this group has figured some things out.”

A Concordia drought leading into halftime allowed Hastings to pull even, 33-33, at the break. Spurred first by its play on the defensive end, the Bulldogs made the game-defining push. Mackenzie Koepke and Taysha Rushton broke a 37-37 stalemate with back-to-back treys, initiating a 16-0 surge. Kendal Brigham capped the run with a pair of layups. As a team that has averaged 63.5 points per game this season, the Broncos did not possess the firepower to keep up.

The meshing of this Concordia team continues to develop without the need for one singular star holding down the spotlight. The budding Krieser added to her stat line on Wednesday with four rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots. As for Rushton, she’s playing within herself. She went 4-for-5 from 3-point range in putting up 12 points, four rebounds and three assists. Another five Bulldogs notched at least five points, including Brigham (nine), Koepke (eight), Sadie Powell (eight), Megan Belt (six) and Mackenzie Toomey (five).

Hastings (8-13, 4-11 GPAC) kept within striking distance for much of the evening thanks to its 14-for-29 performance from 3-point range. Conversely, the Broncos made only 6-of-24 shots from inside the arc and shot 37.7 percent overall. Katharine Hamburger paced all players with 16 points while Alyssa Baker chipped in 13. The visitors did do a commendable job in limiting their turnovers to 17 in the face of a pesky press. Hastings has suffered seven straight defeats and has not earned a conference win since Dec. 7.

Koepke poured in two treys and ended the night with 199 career 3-point field goals, leaving her on the brink of becoming the sixth player in program history to net 200. She’s seen how this team has evolved over time. Said Koepke, “We’re feeling good, we’re playing well together. We’re staying level-headed – don’t ride the highs too high or the lows too low. We’re staying confident in each other and I think that’s what’s helping us a lot.”

Concordia earned a season sweep of the Broncos having also defeated them on the road, 70-57, on Dec. 10. The Bulldogs are 6-1 in the month of January with the lone defeat coming at Jamestown. One of the hottest players individually, Krieser has scored in double figures in four consecutive games and has averaged 12.8 points during that stretch.

The 70th Concordia Invitational Tournament will tip off on Friday from Friedrich Arena. In round one of the event, the Bulldogs will take on Concordia University Wisconsin (9-8) at 6 p.m. CT on Friday. CUNE will be attempting to extend a string of seven straight CIT championships. For more details on CIT 2023, including ticket information, click HERE.

Schutte celebrates birthday by leading rout of Hastings


SEWARD, Neb. – It was Noah Schutte’s birthday bash and he wasn’t sharing any of the cake with Hastings. The Laurel-Concord-Coleridge High School product outscored the Broncos by himself in the opening half while surgically picking apart the opposition. The Concordia University Men’s Basketball team limited Hastings to 31.5 percent shooting in the 80-42 demolition inside Friedrich Arena on Wednesday (Jan. 25). The Bulldogs successfully avenged their mid-December loss at Hastings.

Head Coach Ben Limback’s squad shook off what had been a three-game losing streak. The Bulldogs (12-9, 8-7 GPAC) will carry positive vibes into the Concordia Invitational Tournament.

“Guys were locked in,” Limback said. “I told them after the game – that response is what champions do. We had a couple games where we didn’t get it done. We had some great meetings and some great talks. This was the response we all expected. I’m just proud of – especially defensively – how hard we competed. The attention to detail was outstanding today.”

It was Noah Schutte 17 and the Hastings Broncos 15 at halftime. Concordia owned an insurmountable 38-15 at that point. At the conclusion of 20 minutes, the Broncos were a miserable 6-for-23 (.261) from the floor and star guard Reggie Thomas had only two points. Schutte was mostly a spectator during the second half but finished with a game high 23 points on 9-for-13 shooting from the floor. Less than seven minutes after tipoff, the Bulldogs already owned a double-digit advantage.

Concordia made it a priority not to let Thomas get loose like he did in the first meeting when he tallied 24 points and led Hastings to a 70-68 victory. He did manage to total 12 points on 5-for-12 shooting, but none of his teammates reached double figures. The Bulldogs have stood out as one of the GPAC’s top defensive teams this season, and it looked like it again on Wednesday.

Said Schutte, “We kind of switched our game plan on Reggie from the first time we played them, but I think our defense was suffocating on them. They got frustrated and we forced 19 turnovers. We were able to get out and run a lot and get easy buckets.”

In strong outings, Gage Smith tallied 10 points, five assists, five steals and four rebounds and Garrett Seagren collected 10 points and two steals. Notably, Jaxon Weyand made his first career start and contributed eight points, including four in the very early stages of the game as Concordia quickly build a sturdy advantage. In addition, Brad Bennett snared eight rebounds, Trey Scheef went 3-for-5 from 3-point range and Zac Kulus (seven points, two steals) and Kelly Vyhnalek (six points, four rebounds) pitched in off the bench. The Bulldogs shot 50 percent (28-for-56) from the floor and were an impressive 16-for-17 from the foul line.

After riding a bit of a rollercoaster over the past four weeks, the Bulldogs hope they’ve found a way to calm the waters. It doesn’t hurt to feed Schutte, who is fewer than 100 points away now from 1,000 in his Concordia career.

Said Limback, “Obviously Noah, birthday boy today, was good in both halves. He made the plays and got us going. I thought Jaxon took advantage and helped us get a lead early. He provides us with some speed. I really liked what he did for us. Gage looked healthy today. You can see his ability to pass and move. He’s so versatile. He’s kind of that unsung hero sometimes.”

The 70th Concordia Invitational Tournament will tip off on Friday from Friedrich Arena. In round one of the event, the Bulldogs will take on Concordia University Chicago (8-2) at 8 p.m. CT on Friday. CUNE will be attempting to claim the program’s 29th all-time CIT championship. For more details on CIT 2023, including ticket information, click HERE.


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