MOORHEAD, Minn. (12/10/16) --- It was only the seventh game of the 2016-17 season but it was much more important to Concordia and head coach Rich Glas as he stood on the doorstep of one more historic milestone.
As the final seconds ticked off the clock in the Cobbers' 69-56 win over a talented St. Olaf team, Glas was able to walk towards midcourt and point up to his wife Sandy to share a special moment during his 600th career win.
Concordia made sure there would be no drama for Glas' 600th career win. The Cobbers led for the entire first half and trailed only briefly in the second period as they made sure there would be no late-game heroics to spoil the party.
Concordia is now 4-3 overall and enters Christmas break 2-1 in MIAC play. St. Olaf flips the win-loss column and is 3-4 overall and 1-2 in conference games.
After both teams went scoreless on their first four possessions CC went on a 15-3 run over the next four minutes.
Senior Austin Nelson ended the drought with a triple open up the scoring. The Cobbs would score on six of the next eight trips down the floor including another trifecta and a transition basket.
Nelson finished with a game-high 27 points.
Moments later Guilherme Saad connected on a wing 3-pointer of his own to make it 23-8 with 10:44 to play in the half.
St. Olaf did not go away quietly as they went on a 15-8 run over the final 10:44 of the first half to make it 31-23 at the intermission.
The Oles were very opportunistic as 14 of their 23 first half points were off of Cobber turnovers.
Concordia continued to turn the basketball over as play started in the second half.
CC had three turnovers in the first four possessions and the Oles capitalized. By the 14:38 point of the second half the eight-point lead vanished after a Sam Stensgard three-ball that gave the Oles a 38-37 advantage – their first lead of the game.
The lead was short lived as Zach Kinny tied the game up with a free throw on the next possession, then proceeded to finish through contact in transition for the old-fashioned three-play to put CC back on top.
With the Oles nipping at the heels - Nelson took over.
After another St. Olaf bucket, Nelson came down and hit a shot to extend the lead back to three points. He buried a 3-pointer on the next possession and then broke out in transition for another bucket.
Nelson went on a solo 7-0 to give Concordia a 48-40 cushion with 9:34 to go.
Dylan Alderman stepped up down the stretch to keep the Oles at bay. He scored nine of his 16 points in the final 7:32 and handled pressure from the St. Olaf press in the backcourt to help Concordia extend the lead.
Concordia shot 22-of-43 (51.2%) from the floor - including 6-of-13 from beyond the arc in the win. CC went 19-of-24 (79.2%) from the charity stripe and 12-of-14 from the foul line in the second half to hold off the Oles.
Nelson led a trio of Cobbers in double figures. Alderman, as aforementioned, finished with 16 points, four rebounds and four assists. Kinny wound up with 11 points, a team-high eight rebounds and three dimes.
Dawson Peterson also had a team-high eight boards for the Cobbers.
A SPECIAL 600TH WIN POSTGAME CELEBRATION:
MR. 600: Rich Glas is one of seven active coaches Division-III coaches to have reached the 600-win plateau. He is also the 95th coach in NCAA history to reach the milestone. Kansas head coach Bill Self was the 94th to do so as he reached the milestone earlier this week.
WINNING WAYS: Glas coached in his 1,000th career game as a head coach over the Thanksgiving Break as CC notched a win at St. Scholastica. Glas is now 600-403 (.598) over his 37 years as head coach.
COLD OUTSIDE, COLDER INSIDE: The thermometer might not have crawled above zero degrees on Saturday but inside Memorial Auditorium Moorhead native Austin Nelson's body temp was even colder at times. The 6'6" senior had ice in his veins on Saturday as he hit big shot after big shot for the Cobbers. Nelson's 27 points is the second highest point total of his career and it was the fourth time he scored 20 or more points in his Cobber career. He is averaging 16.6 points per game and has scored in double digits in all seven games this season.
SENIOR LEADERSHIP: To go along with Nelson's big night, the other two Cobber seniors also played big roles in the historic win. Dylan Alderman and Zach Kinny got to the foul stripe and converted when CC needed it most. In the second half the tandem went 10-for-12 from the line in the second half and 14-for-17 for the game. Alderman hit 8-of-9 while Kinny connected on 6-of-8 tries.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS: Concordia enters Christmas break in a three-way tie with St. John's and Augsburg for second place in the MIAC standings. Bethel is the lone undefeated team in the league as the Royals sit at 4-0.
WHAT'S NEXT?: Concordia will enjoy the holiday break before returning to action on December 30 when they host Valley City State in a non-conference game at 7 p.m. The Vikings are 9-5 overall this year and are 2-1 in North Star Athletic Conference play.
CONCORDIA vs. ST. OLAF HIGHLIGHTS: