Playoff Clincher Will Have To Wait

Junior Dylan Alderman drives to the basket against St. Mary's. He  had a game-high 19 points and was 6-for-8 from the field.
Junior Dylan Alderman drives to the basket against St. Mary's. He had a game-high 19 points and was 6-for-8 from the field.

MOORHEAD, Minn. (2/8/15) --- Concordia had a chance to clinch a MIAC playoff spot for the second straight season, but St. Mary's dashed that thought with a 56-55 win in Memorial Auditorium on Wednesday night. 

It was the first time SMU had beaten the Cobbers at Memorial Auditorium since the 2009-10 season. 

The Cobbers shot 45% (9-of-20) from the floor in the second half while the Cardinals shot 57.1% (12-of-21) and 5-for-8 from downtown and earned the one-point win. 

With the loss, St. Olaf slips ahead of Concordia and St. John's, who both lost. CC now holds a 14-8 overall record and is tied with the Johnnies for third in the league at 11-6. SMU improves to 8-13 and 6-10 in MIAC games. 

Early on it appeared as Dylan Alderman was in for another career night. He scored the first basket of the game and hit two triples from somewhere in South Moorhead to make it 14-9 with 14:57 to play in the first half. 

SMU hung around and cut the deficit to 23-21, but then Isaac Anderson went on a 5-0 run by himself to make it 28-21. Anderson had a swat on one end and finished off the quick five points with a put-back slam. 

On the next possession Jordan Bolger scored inside to extend the Cobber lead to nine points, which would be their largest of the game. 

St. Mary's scored the final two buckets of the half, including a dunk from Mark Schumacher, that made it 30-25 at the intermission. 

Concordia rebuilt their nine-point lead in the second half with another Anderson layup with 15:11 to play at 37-26 but the Cardinals made their run from there. 

SMU went on a 23-10 run where they scored on nine consecutive possessions. The Cardinals made four 3-pointers in the run, including three in-a -row, in the spurt to grab a 49-47 lead with 5:59 to play. 

Alderman stepped to the line and hit a pair of free throws to take the lead, but a Connor Kaiser triple at the 4:25 mark put SMU ahead for good. 

It was Alderman trying to will the Cobbers back, as he hit a free throw and hit a jump shot to make it 56-55 with 1:13 remaining. 

Bolger hauled down a board and Alderman raced to the other end and drew a foul on a drive to the basket but tweaked his ankle and was forced to come out of the game. 

The Cobbers missed both free throws but got one last try in the waning seconds. A 3-pointer was off the mark and a last second skip for a shot was picked off to seal the St. Mary's win. 

Concordia was outrebounded 28-26 and their bench was outscored 20-18. 

The Cobbers' shooting percentage of 45.8% (22-of-48) was their worst since the first St. Thomas game in St. Paul back on December 2 when they shot 43.3% (26-of-60). 

CC shot 3-of-5 from beyond the arc in the first half, but a lid was put on Memorial's south basket in the second half. The Cobbers went 0-for-5 after recess and 3-for-10 for the contest, the second lowest 3-point basket total of the season for the second best 3-point shooting team in the league. 

Alderman paced the Cobbers with 19 points while Bolger chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds. 

WHAT'S NEXT?
The Cobbers have three games remaining on their MIAC schedule before conference tournament play begins. The first will be at Hamline on Wednesday, February 10 with tip-off at 5:45 p.m. The Pipers, coming off a tough 81-75 overtime loss at Carleton, have lost five straight and sit at 4-17 overall and a 2-14 conference mark. CC beat Hamline at home 81-66 back on January 11 in Moorhead.