MITCHELL, S.D. – The Concordia University men’s basketball team made just 13 field goals all game in a rough outing at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, S.D., on Saturday (Feb. 1). While shorthanded, 10th-ranked Dakota Wesleyan still poses problems with its length and with the star power of Ty Hoglund. The work of the Tigers on the defensive end was the difference in a 71-50 road loss for the Bulldogs.
Head coach Ben Limback’s squad entered the weekend with a chance to pull even for second place in the GPAC standings if it could secure a win at Dakota Wesleyan. Instead, Concordia (17-7, 8-6 GPAC) began February with a dud.
“Dakota Wesleyan did a great job with their length. They’re long and tall,” Limback said. “They really bothered us on the looks we had from three. They were able to control the pace and slow it down. We just couldn’t get it going offensively. When you have 18 turnovers and shoot 28 percent, you when very few games. Give a lot of credit to Dakota Wesleyan.”
The Bulldogs likely felt fortunate to be trailing by just a four-point margin (41-37) just past the 15-minute mark of the second half. That’s when the wheels came off. Concordia endured a stretch of more than six minutes without making a basket. By that point, it was too late. The Tiger lead had ballooned to as many as 22 points. Despite playing essentially just six guys, Dakota Wesleyan (18-5, 10-4 GPAC) did not wear down.
This just didn’t look like the same Bulldog team that had won 10 of its previous 11 games. Brevin Sloup (3-for-5) and AJ Watson (3-for-6) did combine for some success from 3-point range, but there wasn’t much other offense to speak of. Sloup and Watson led the team with 11 points apiece. The only real advantage Concordia had was at the free throw line – where it went 15-for-21 compared to 8-for-9 shooting by the Tigers. Chol Biel contributed with 10 rebounds and a blocked shot.
Hoglund knocked in a game high 20 points in his 35 minutes of action. Four of the team’s five starters played 35 minutes or more. Koln Oppold notched 17 points and three steals. Dakota Wesleyan shot 47.3 percent from the field and 45.8 percent from 3-point range. This was a get-right game for the Tigers after they had dropped back-to-back home games.
The trick now for the Bulldogs is to not let one bad performance get them down. Said Limback, “We have to have that next play mentality. We need to have better spacing and shoot it with confidence. It’s a great time for a rivalry game. We’ll be ready. We’re going to grow and learn from this.”
The three-game road swing will continue on Wednesday when the Bulldogs will be at Doane (6-18, 1-13 GPAC) for an 8 p.m. CT tipoff inside the Haddix Center in Crete. This season’s first meeting between the two sides was decided in double overtime with Concordia pulling out an 83-77 home win on Dec. 4. The lone Tiger GPAC victory this season came over Briar Cliff.