FOREST CITY, Iowa – While seeking its first road win of the 2018-19 season, the Concordia University men’s basketball team went on an 11-0 second half run, withstood a late push from the opposition and emerged victorious in Forest City, Iowa, on Monday night (Nov. 19). The Bulldogs even survived a long, last second 3-point attempt in what amounted to a 75-72 win inside Hanson Fieldhouse, home to Waldorf University.
The victory marks the 200th in the head coaching career of Ben Limback, who is in his sixth season guiding his alma mater. Concordia moved to 5-3 overall this season.
Said Limback, “The guys mobbed me after the game. I didn’t really know. I just thought they were excited about the win. (Assistant coach) Lance (Korell) announced it so it was kind of cool.
“You go on the road and get on a bus during break and you have to find ways to win on the road. They have a 7-footer that really hurt us in the second half. They do a good job of executing their sets, but we had so many big moments from different guys. We have a lot of stuff to clean up, but to get that win on the road with so many guys contributing was nice to see tonight.”
There were some tense moments made even more nerve-wracking by a couple of Bulldog miscues in the final a few minutes, but the visitors showed the proper amount of resolve to get out of there on top. Concordia players took turns making clutch shots down the stretch. There may not have been a bigger one than the top-of-the-key trey drained by Zach Auguste, who had not made a 3-point basket yet this season. His first of the campaign came with 2:15 left on the clock and boosted the advantage to 72-67.
It was a white knuckler from there. The Bulldogs never did relinquish the lead, but the Warriors got within one (73-72) after Concordia turned the ball over in the backcourt and then committed a foul with eight seconds left, leading to two Waldorf free throws. The final two points were sunk by Bulldog freshman Justin Wiersema before the Warriors (3-4) put up a misfire at the buzzer.
Joked Limback, “I’m exhausted. That was a grey hair game.”
With the exception of the 11-0 spurt by Concordia that provided a 58-47 lead, this one was played nip-and-tuck throughout. After an 8-0 run sliced the Bulldog advantage to two (61-59), Brevin Sloup followed with a bucket and Ryan Holt then delivered a three-point play. Concordia always managed to have an answer when Waldorf threatened.
This one took a team effort and the help of some strong outside shooting (12-for-25 from 3-point range). Holt got his first career start and chipped in 12 points and two blocks. Off the bench, Auguste paced the team in points (13) and rebounds (six). Three others reached double figures in the scoring column: Sloup (12), Chuol Biel (10) and Tanner Shuck (10). Wiersema added eight points and made 2-of-3 tries from long distance.
The Bulldogs had to deal with 7-foot-3 Gabriel Munoz, who notched a game high 20 points (9-for-15 from the field) and four blocked shots. Waldorf, which played at home for the first time since a 74-69 win over Mount Marty on Oct. 31, fell despite shooting a solid 48.3 percent from the floor. Both teams committed 11 turnovers.
The Bulldogs will wait to return to Nebraska and remain on the road for Tuesday’s exhibition contest at NCAA Division I University of North Dakota (3-1). Tipoff from Grand Forks, N.D., is set for 7 p.m. CT for a game that will be televised on Fox Sports North and ESPN3.com. The next official game for Concordia will be Saturday at Peru State College (4-0).
“We want to look back on this week and say, ‘man we did a lot of growing that week,’” Limback said. “We’re spending a lot of time together. I loved our bench tonight. I thought guys came in ready. Zach didn’t start, but his attitude was tremendous. It was probably his best game of the year. I love the energy right now and the enthusiasm of the guys.”