ANN ARBOR, Mich. – A tight first half gave way to a drama free final few minutes on the opening day of the 68th annual Concordia Invitational Tournament. Concordia University, Wisconsin caught fire in the second half while following the lead of the likes of Jordan Johnson and Josh Hau. They powered the Falcons to an 86-70 win over the Concordia University, Nebraska men’s basketball team in Friday (Jan. 25)’s action in Ann Arbor, Mich.
The loss means sixth-year head coach Ben Limback’s program will play in the CIT consolation game for the second year in a row. The Bulldogs are .500 overall at 12-12.
“They’re a great offensive team and they have good balance,” Limback said. “They have guys who can shoot and a good post player. I thought we did a decent job on their post player throughout the game. There were some stretches in the second half where they got on a run and got some offensive rebounds. We didn’t handle some of the adversity well in the second half.”
Junior point guard Brevin Sloup was white hot early on. He splashed home all five first half attempts from 3-point range and wound up with a game high 24 points. Unfortunately for CUNE, Josh Hau and Jordan Johnson stole the show in the second half. They gashed the Bulldogs for a combined 47 points and led the charge in a 15-5 run that provided CUW a double digit advantage nearly midway through the second half. CUNE struggled to get back within single digits the rest of the way.
The Falcons outplayed CUNE in many facets. CUW tightened up its perimeter defense after the break and enjoyed a decided advantage on the boards (40-29). After knocking down 8-of-13 tries from beyond the arc in the first half, the Bulldogs went only 3-for-17 from long range over the final 20 minutes. Sloup fired off only two shots from beyond the arc in the second half.
CUNE could not get enough scoring punch from players not named Sloup. Tanner Shuck and Justin Wiersema notched 10 points apiece. Off the bench, Sammy Adjei posted nine points and seven rebounds. The Bulldogs shot only 41.1 percent from the floor compared to the 51.5 percent clip by the Falcons.
A member of the NCAA Division III’s Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference, CUW (12-5) possesses an efficient offense that shoots 48.6 percent from the floor on the season. Jake Jurss (16 points) served as a nice third scoring option on Friday to supplement the efforts of Hau and Johnson. The Falcons are aiming for their first CIT title since 2013.
CUNE is in the midst of a unique stretch. Over their last 11 games, the Bulldogs have either won or lost nine of them by double digit margins. They had a quick turn around after taking care of Doane, 70-53, at home on Wednesday.
“We have to be better at tightening some things up,” Limback said. “The first half I felt like both teams went on a few runs. They answered it and we answered it. It all starts with consistent effort. They outplayed us in the second half, especially on the glass. We have to have consistent effort through adversity.”
The loss relegates the Bulldogs to the CIT consolation game at 1:30 p.m. CST / 2:30 p.m. EST on Saturday. The opponent will be either Concordia University, Ann Arbor or Concordia University, Chicago.