The Free Press, Mankato, MN

November 24, 2013

Victory slips away from Bethany in final 2 minutes

By Chad Courrier ccourrier@mankatofreepress.com
The Mankato Free Press

---- — MANKATO Text ColorSwatch/NoneStrokeStyle/$ID/Japanese DotsText ColorSwatch/NoneStrokeStyle/$ID/Solid$ID/NothingText ColorText Color$ID/NothingText ColorText Color— Up 2 with two minutes to play, the Bethany Lutheran men’s basketball team needed to make some shots or get some stops.

Unfortunately for the Vikings, they got neither.

“I felt like today, a lot of the tips and bounces and rolls didn’t go our way,” Bethany coach Greg Holzhueter said. “You need to get stops when the ball isn’t dropping. It’s another learning experience for a young team.”

The Vikings lost 76-72 to Concordia Chicago in a nonconference game Saturday at the Sports & Fitness Center.

The Vikings held the slim lead in the final two minutes but couldn’t close the game. Making only 10 of 23 free throws didn’t help, a surprsing stat since the team had made 23 of 28 free throws in the first two games.

“That’s not normal for us,” senior Jacob Wensmann said. “I know I missed too many. But we’re a good free-throw shooting team.”

In the first half, Rodney Pierce-Tyler provided some early spark. Through the first two games, Pierce-Tyler hadn’t done much, with four points and four rebounds in only 13 minutes, but he provided some quick offense Saturday, hitting consecutive 3-pointers to lead 13-8.

Concordia Chicago answered with an 18-9 run over the next five minutes, but the Vikings closed the half on a 22-8 run for a 44-34 lead. Pierce-Tyler had 13 points and five rebounds at the break.

“Rodney has a lot of skill, and he’s a mismatch for a lot of post players,” Holzhueter said. “Our two posts got into foul trouble, and he stepped up. He took advantage of his opportunity to show us what he can do.”.

Concordia Chicago erased the halftime deficit in the first five minutes of the second half and led 55-50 at the 10-minute mark.

“We’ve had trouble at the start of games and the start of the second half,” Holzhueter said. “I don’t know if it’s something in our preparation or something we need to change. We let them get right back in the game.”

Wensmann scored 15 of his 19 points in the final 10 minutes, helping Bethany go ahead 70-68 with two minutes to play, but on the final five possessions, there was an air ball at the end of the shot clock, two missed 3-pointers, a blocked 3-pointer and an inside basket.

Meanwhile, the Cougars made two layups and four free throws to pull away.

“We weren’t able to get in the paint or get to the free-throw line,” Holzhueter said. “We settled for outside shots. Those last two minutes, that’s something we can learn from as a group.”

Wensmann had eight rebounds to go with 19 points, and Pierce-Tyler finished with 13 points and nine rebounds. Jeremiah Fogarty had 11 points and seven boards.

Bethany (0-3) plays its next game Tuesday at home against Bethel.

“We just need to get that first win,” Wensmann said. “It doesn’t matter who we play, we’re playing for that W.”

CONCORDIA CHICAGO 76

Pearson 8-13 2-5 18, Doxakis 0-2 0-0 0, Walmer 6-9 6-6 19, Saar 4-12 0-0 10, Gosse 4-9 3-4 11, Elston 4-8 0-0 8, Kosberg 0-0 0-0 0, Stinson 4-6 0-0 10, Oakley 0-3 0-0 0, Guinan 0-1 0-0 0, Ruffing 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 30-64 11-15 76.

BETHANY LUTHERAN 72

Haugh 3-13 0-0 8, Kuechenmeister 5-13 0-0 12, Fogarty 4-6 3-7 11, Wensmann 8-14 3-7 19, Sanborn 0-1 0-0 0, Cummings 0-0 0-1 0, Roddy 2-7 0-0 5, Lampley 0-0 0-0 0, Hopkins 1-4 0-0 2, Kelson 0-2 0-0 0, Olson 1-3 0-2 2, Pierce-Tyler 3-9 4-6 13. Totals: 27-72 10-23 72.

Halftime: Bethany Lutheran 44, Concordia Chicago 34. 3-point shooting: Concordia Chicago 5-21 (Pearson 0-2, Doxakis 0-1, Walmer 1-3, Saar 2-7, Stinson 2-4, Oakley 0-2, Guinan 0-1, Ruffing 0-1), Bethany Lutheran 8-29 (Haugh 2-8, Kuechenmeister 2-5, Wensmann 0-2, Roddy 1-5, Hopkins 0-3, Pierce-Tyler 3-6). Rebounds: Concordia Chicago 48 (Stinson 10), Bethany Lutheran 42 (Pierce-Tyler 9). Assists: Concordia Chicago 14 (Stinson 9), Bethany Lutheran 11 (Fogarty, Roddy 3). Steals: Concordia Chicago 5 (Walmer, Gosse 2), Bethany Lutheran 10 (Haugh 3). Turnovers: Concordia Chicago 17, Bethany Lutheran 14. Total fouls: Concordia Chicago 18, Bethany Lutheran 16. Fouled out: Concordia Chicago (Elston).

Attendance: Not available.