SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The Concordia University men’s basketball team hit the road on Wednesday (Feb. 6) knowing it needed to put together one of its best outings of the season if it was to shock No. 2 Morningside on its home court. Big man Tyler Borchers wreaked havoc in the post for the first-place Mustangs, who dealt the Bulldogs a 79-64 loss inside the Rosen-Verdoorn Sports Center in Sioux City, Iowa.
Sixth-year head coach Ben Limback’s squad had attempted to triumph within a gym that no one has won at since the 2016-17 season. At 14-14 overall and 6-12 in conference play, Concordia hopes to keep within the top eight of the GPAC standings.
“We talked about it before the game – we had to be the aggressor regardless of their ranking or their size,” Limback said. “That shouldn’t matter. I didn’t feel like we did that. We had some breakdowns defensively and gave up too many layups. Our offense was a little too stagnant. We went to the bench and our aggressiveness picked up. Klay Uher gave us a nice spark and Carter (Kent) was good throughout.
“We knew their big was going to score, but we gave up too many drives to the paint. Offensively we weren’t sharp enough to overcome it.”
Kent was a bright spot in a game that Morningside controlled most of the way. Kent notched a team high 19 points while connecting on 4-of-7 tries from long range. Kent spurred the Bulldogs back to within striking distance after they fell behind 24-9 out of the gate. During a 12-3 Concordia run, Kent splashed in a triple and made a nifty finish in transition. Morningside promptly called timeout with its lead cut to six.
That was about as much adversity as the Mustangs faced. They have possessed too much firepower for most teams to keep up with. Six of their players average 8.5 points or more. Borchers is a load in the post. He finished with a game high 26 points on 11-for-14 shooting from the field on Wednesday. Zach Imig (12 points, six rebounds) was the only other Morningside player to reach double figures for a balanced squad.
About the only thing the Mustangs (23-1, 16-1 GPAC) did not do well was make 3-point shots (3-for-14). They shot 60 percent (33-for-55) overall and committed only nine turnovers. Morningside led by as many as 20 points while taking the drama out of the second half.
Brevin Sloup joined Kent in double figures with 12 points (5-for-13 from the field). Tanner Shuck added nine points and four rebounds and Uher contributed seven points off the bench. Sammy Adjei provided one of the game’s most eye-popping moments when he followed a missed layup with an authoritative put-back slam.
The Bulldogs will return to Walz Arena on Saturday for their final home contest of the 2018-19 campaign. Concordia will welcome No. 18 Dakota Wesleyan (18-8, 11-7 GPAC) to town for a 4 p.m. CST tipoff. Back on Dec. 15, the Tigers handed the Bulldogs their most lopsided defeat of the season, 105-56. Dakota Wesleyan has won the last four matchups in the series.
“It’s great experience for us,” said Limback of these clashes with the league’s top teams. “We might have Morningside again (in the GPAC tournament). As the game tonight went on we settled in a bit. We have to learn how hard to compete and the amount of execution and focus it takes to win in these big games.”