If Saturday evening’s GPAC men’s basketball matchup between Briar Cliff and Concordia is any indicator to how the rest of the season will go, Charger fans are in for an exciting year. The Cliff moved to 1-0 in GPAC play with a dramatic 70-69 victory in Seward, Nebraska as freshman Nick Hoyt put up a career-high 12 points, including two buzzer-beating 3-point buckets.
Down by two with almost no time on the clock, Hoyt got the ball from Jaden Kleinhesselink in the corner and drained a three as time expired. The Chargers trailed the majority of the contest but were always able to keep the Bulldogs in striking distance and went back on top when it mattered most.
“This is a big win for us tonight,” said head coach Mark Svagera. “When you go on the road in this league and struggle for a decent chunk of the game but find a way to win, it shows the level of grit and toughness that our guys played with. Having to overcome 20 turnovers and still finding a way was a great testament to our team sticking together for 40 minutes.”
Briar Cliff only led by two points at most in the first half, compared to a 10-point lead by Concordia with 10 seconds on the clock. Hoyt’s first buzzer-beater cut that lead to seven and the Cliff trailed 40-33 at halftime.
The Chargers overcame the halftime deficit for the first time at the 11:35 mark with a three from Ethan Freidel to give the Cliff a 50-47 lead. The Bulldogs took the lead back with 6:44 remaining in the game and did not give it up until Hoyt’s second buzzer-beater of the night.
“Nick hitting that buzzer beater was huge for us,” Svagera added. “He showed a lot of poise for a freshman to step into that role and hit that shot.”
Jackson Lamb continues to lead the Chargers offensively, scoring 18 points on the night. He also had five rebounds and one blocked shot. Three other Chargers were also in double digits, with 13 from Freidel and 12 each from Hoyt and Austin Roetman. Roetman had a game-high eight rebounds, led all players in assists with five and had one shot rejection.
Brevin Sloup had 21 points for the Bulldogs and Chuol Biel had seven boards.
The Cliff shot 48.3% from the field but just 29.2% from the 3-point line. BC only took five free throws on the night but went five-for-five. Concordia was 42.9% in field goal shooting, 26.1% from beyond the arc and 66.7% from the free throw line.
“There are things we need to get better at moving forward but that’s a great win and any time you can go on the road in the GPAC and win is a good thing,” Svagera noted. “We’re looking forward to being home again Wednesday and getting the Newman Flanagan Center rocking.”
The Chargers will return home for the GPAC home opener at the Newman Flanagan Center Wednesday night. Tipoff against Mount Marty is scheduled for 8 p.m.