Dakota Wesleyan men's basketball mounts second-half comeback, downs Concordia
The Tigers rallied and came back to take down Concordia in Great Plains Athletic Conference action at the Corn Palace on Saturday.
MITCHELL — Down 13 points with under 14 minutes to go in the game, it was looking like Dakota Wesleyan men’s basketball was on its way to its fifth-straight loss to close out the regular season.
Instead, the Tigers rallied, coming back to take down Concordia 75-72 in Great Plains Athletic Conference action at the Corn Palace on Saturday.
DWU scored its final seven points of the game at the free-throw line, turning what was once a 69-68 Concordia lead into a 75-72 win. Koln Oppold knocked down four points in a row before Kallan Herman hit the last three free throws to seal the win.
To get to the line to ice the game, Herman came down with two big rebounds, the first of which came on the offensive end on a putback chance from his own missed shot, and the second came on the defensive glass after Concordia missed a 3-pointer with 8 seconds left that would’ve given the Bulldogs the lead.
“He had a really good game,” said head coach Matt Wilber of Herman, who led the Tigers with 23 points. “He’s been one of our most consistent guys. … (He) just keeps grinding and working and he’s out there leading us in scoring in a big-time game against a potential national tournament team.”
The Tigers trailed 31-28 at half despite 2-for-17 shooting from 3-point range from Concordia. The Bulldogs then raced out to a 51-38 lead in the early part of the second half before DWU mounted its comeback.
“It would’ve been the difference in the game had we not got some stops and made some shots to get back,” Wilber said of the early run in the second half from Concordia. “I give our guys a lot of credit for fighting and competing because that’s what they did.”
The advantage for the Bulldogs was thanks in large part to Noah Schutte. The sophomore forward averaged 18.6 points per game prior to Saturday’s contest and eclipsed that mark in the first half with 19 points. He finished with a game- and season-high 36 points on 13-for-25 shooting, as well as 13 rebounds.
“He was absolutely cooking us,” Wilber said of Schutte. “He’s just really good around the rim. He’s relentless, he’s very physical and he’s just coming at you all the time.”
DWU held the rest of the Concordia (17-11, 11-9 GPAC) roster to 13-for-41 (31.7%) shooting from the floor and 3-for-23 (13%) from 3-point range.
For the Tigers, Blaze Lubbers had 16 points, Koln Oppold had 11 and Diang Gatluak had a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double off the bench. DWU won the rebounding battle, 41-38.
The win snapped a four-game losing streak for DWU (13-15, 9-11 GPAC) and slotted the Tigers into the GPAC tournament as the No. 6 seed. They’ll travel to Dordt for a first-round matchup against the third-seeded Defenders at 7:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22.
“We’re going to have to make some shots,” Wilber said of what would need to go right to make a run in the GPAC tournament. “You can get hot at any time and things can click at any time, but defensively, you’ve got to be really sharp.”