A Solid 10-Minute Season Start

Junior David Birkeland gets tied up on a drive to the basket in the first half of the Cobbers' season opener against St. Thomas. Birkeland led CC with a career-high 19 points.
Junior David Birkeland gets tied up on a drive to the basket in the first half of the Cobbers' season opener against St. Thomas. Birkeland led CC with a career-high 19 points.

MOORHEAD, Minn. (2/06/21)---You'll have to excuse first-year head coach Tyler Bormann if he thought life in the MIAC was going to be easy. Halfway through the first half in his first collegiate game his Cobber team was tied with defending conference champion St. Thomas and was playing at a high level.

Unfortunately, Concordia couldn't keep their 69.2% shooting pace, gave up a 12-2 run in the back half of the opening period, a 23-10 spurt in the final minutes of the second half and lost 90-61 to the Tommies.

While the final score appears 1-sided on the stat sheet, the Cobbers were able to get quality looks on the offensive side of the court and showed defensive intensity the entire 40 minutes of play.

David Birkeland had a breakout game in the opener of his junior season. He wet 8-for-11 from the floor and finished with a career-high 19 points. It marked only the second time in his 28 games in maroon and gold that he has posted a double-digit point total.

GAME RECAP: Concordia went back-and-forth with St. Thomas for the first 10 minutes of play. The Tommies bolted to a 7-2 lead but then CC got rid of their nerves and went on an 11-4 streak to take a 13-11 lead at the 14:54 mark of the opening period of play. The game would stay within four points until the final nine minutes of the half when UST went on their decisive 12-2 run. The Cobbers were within single digits at 39-31 in the final 3-minutes of the period but then St. Thomas grabbed the game by the collar and closed out the half by scoring the final eight points.

READY FREDDY: Jacob Fredrickson started his senior season with a career-high 18-point performance. He was 7-for-9 from the floor and 4-for-5 from the free throw line. His 18 points marks the eighth time in his career that he has finished in double digits in scoring.

INSIDE THE SHOOTING NUMBERS: The Cobbers shot 52.2% (24-for-46) from the floor for the game. Their shooting percentage was helped by the tandem of Birkeland and Fredrickson who combined to go 15-for-20 and shoot 75.0%. Bormann played 13 players in the opener which meant that the 11 players not named Birkeland or Fredrickson went 9-for-26 and shot 34.6% from the floor.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS 2: While the Cobbers put up 46 shots in the game, the Tommies were able to get off 62 field goal attempts and went 34-for-62 (54.8%). The difference in shots taken can be traced to the difference in offensive rebounds (12-3) and the turnover margin (16-9 in favor of UST). St. Thomas also held a 19-4 advantage in second-chance points.

MILLER TIME: St. Thomas was led by junior guard Riley Miller. Miller was 8-for-9 from outside the arc and finished with a career-high 30 points.

DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN: Concordia was outrebounded 29-17 in the game. The 17 rebounds tied the season low from last year which came against….wait for it….at home against St. Thomas. CC was outrebounded 28-17.

RASMUSSEN THE REBOUNDER: Freshman guard Charlie Rasmussen led Concordia in rebounds. He hauled down four boards in his first collegiate game. The Perham HS product also had two assists and two points.

UP NEXT: Concordia will hit the road for the first time in 2021 when they play at another defending MIAC champion. The Cobbers will travel to Collegeville to take on St. John's who tied with the Tommies for last year's conference regular-season crown. SJU is 2-0 overall this year and coming off a 79-75 win at Hamline on Saturday.

RECAP SPONSOR: Today's recap sponsor is Erbert and Gerbert's sandwich shop. Their commitment to Cobber athletics throughout the year has been invaluable. Stop by your local Erb and Gerb's store for the best sandwich in town and tell them CobberSID sent you.