Sudden Second-Half Start Stops Cobbers

Senior Brandon Giese was 5-for-8 from 3-point range and finished with a game-high 19 points at Bethel.
Senior Brandon Giese was 5-for-8 from 3-point range and finished with a game-high 19 points at Bethel.

ARDEN HILLS, Minn. (2/09/15)—Concordia watched a 10-point halftime lead evaporate in a span of 2:44 at the start of the second half, committed 11 second-half turnovers and lost at Bethel 74-66.

The Cobbers rolled to a 31-21 lead at the break but then had the Royals score on their first six possessions of the final period and had their two-game losing streak come to an end.

The loss drops Concordia out of a three-way tie with Bethel for fourth place in the MIAC standings into a three-way tie for fifth place. The Cobbers are now 8-7 in the conference and 12-8 overall. Bethel moves up to a tie for third place, one game ahead of CC, and is now 9-6 in the league and 13-7 in all games.

In addition to the slow second-half start and the miscues in the second period, one of the differences in the game came at the foul line where Bethel held a 19-5 edge in made free throws and a 21-11 advantage in foul line attempts. It is the third time this season that the Cobbers have made at least 10 fewer free throws than their opponents and they are 0-3 in those games.

Despite the quick start in the second half by the Royals, the game still hung in the balance until the final two minutes of play. After five tie scores and a couple of Bethel scoring sprees, a pair of Tom Fraase free throws cut the Royal lead to two points at 59-57 with 2:02 to play.

The Royals made a layup on their next possession which was followed by a missed 3-pointer from the Cobbers and that's when the Bethel free throw shooting parade began.  The Royals proceeded to make 11-of-12 free throws in the final minute of play to salt away the eight-point win.

Concordia shot 50.0% (13-for-26) from the floor in the first half and 46.7% (14-for-30) in the second period of play and finished with a 48.2% shooting percentage. CC was 4-for-10 from behind the arc in the first half and 3-for-11 (27.3%) in the final half to finish at 33.3%.

Brandon Giese got the hot hand late in the game and came away with a game-high 19 points. He had 13 of those points in the second half alone. Giese finished the night by shooting 5-for-8 from behind the arc.

Jordan Bolger was the inside presence for Concordia. He had 15 points and eight rebounds. Senior center Scott Flotterud also had eight rebounds while point guard Ryan Rude came away with nine points, seven assists and five rebounds. His seven assists are a career high and the most by a CC player since Giese had nine in a game against St. Mary's at the end of last season.

Concordia will return home for another key conference game. The Cobbers will host Gustavus on Wednesday, Feb. 11 at 7:45 p.m. The Gusties are one of the two teams tied with the Cobbers for fifth place in the MIAC standings.