MOORHEAD, Minn. (12/15/17)---The first half was the definition of back-and-forth basketball as Concordia and Bethel were tied 12 different times in the first 20 minutes play.
Unfortunately for the Cobbers the second half was more back than forth as the Royals used an 8-0 run at the start of the second period and then a 9-1 streak midway through the final frame and dropped a 90-78 decision in the final MIAC game of the 2017 calendar year.
Senior center Kevin Wolfe had a career game for Concordia. He went 11-for-12 from the field and finished with a career high 25 points. He also pulled down a game-high seven rebounds to keep the Cobbers close throughout the game.
The loss is the second straight for Concordia who fall to 3-5 in all games and 1-3 in conference play. Bethel wins for the third straight game and moves to 7-2 overall. The Royals are now 3-2 in the MIAC.
Neither team was able to pull away in the first half which was a stop-and-start affair with the team combining for 22 fouls. The largest lead in the first 20 minutes of play came in the final two minutes when Bethel grabbed a six-point lead at 40-34. The Cobbers' largest lead was four points 23-19 midway through the period.
Wolfe would trim the halftime deficit to two points when he got free for one of his many layups in the game with 6-seconds remaining. His basket from inside would make the score 42-40 at the break.
Bethel made the first of their two significant second-half runs with just over one minute played in the period. The Cobbers cut the lead to one at 46-45 on a layup by Tommy Schyma. The Royals then scored the next eight points to grab a nine-point advantage at 54-45 with 16:28 to play.
Concordia was able to stay within six points until the Royals went on the 9-1 to take the first double-digit lead of the game at 76-62.
The Royals were able to make both runs on their ability to dribble from the point of attack and get to the basket.
Besides the career-high 25 points from Wolfe, Concordia also had double-digit scoring performances from Schyma and Jacob Pazdernik. Schyma put up 10 points in 10 minutes of play while Pazdernik went 7-for-12 from the field and finished with 15 points to go along with five rebounds.
The Cobbers shot 63.3% (31-for-49) from the field and 40.0% (4-for-10) from 3-point range. Bethel made 58.9% (33-for-56) of their shots from the floor but just 27.8% (5-for-18) of their attempts from long range.
Concordia held a 27-24 edge in rebounds but turned the ball over nine more times than the Royals (17-8).
Both team's ability to get to the basket enabled the teams to score a combined 78 points in the paint. Bethel's edge in turnovers led to a 26-8 margin in points off miscues.
WONDERFUL WOLFE: Kevin Wolfe's 25 points is the most scored by a Cobber player this season. The previous top performance was 24 points put up by Collin Larson against Bethany Lutheran.
20-POINT CONUNDRUM: Wolfe's 25-point game marks the fourth time this year that a CC player has scored at least 20 points in a contest. CC is 1-3 in those games.
WHAT'S NEXT: Concordia will have a two-week break for the Christmas holiday before returning to action on Saturday, Dec. 30 when they host St. Scholastica at 1 p.m.
CONCORDIA vs. BETHEL HIGHLIGHTS: