Late Is Great

Emily Beseman drives the ball to the basket and goes up for two of her game-high 24 points in the first half of the Cobbers' win over Bethel.
Emily Beseman drives the ball to the basket and goes up for two of her game-high 24 points in the first half of the Cobbers' win over Bethel.

MOORHEAD, Minn. (2/21/21)---The storyline was simple for the Cobbers on Sunday. They were up, then they weren't, then they were up – and won. Concordia scored 10-of the final 12 points in their rare Sunday night game and beat Bethel 65-62.

The Cobbers took the lead in the last half of the first quarter, kept the lead until late in the third quarter, trailed by as many as seven points in the fourth and then went on their decisive run with 3-minutes left to play in the game.

Concordia (2-2/2-1 MIAC) outscored the Royals (1-2/1-1 MIAC) in three of the four quarters of play but it was the third quarter that put BU in the lead. Bethel held a 22-12 advantage in the 10 minutes of play after the halftime break.

Cobber sophomore Emily Beseman led all players with 24 points. She also added seven assists and two steals. Junior Mary Sem scored 12 of her 23 points in the fourth quarter as she was a huge catalyst for the Concordia comeback. Senior Elizabeth Birkemeyer was a force under the basket as she pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds.

GAME RECAP: Neither team was able to find the basket in the first quarter of the game. There was a combined total of 12 points put on the board in the first 7:35 of play. The Cobbers and Royals finished the first period by shooting a combined 25.0% (7-for-28) from the floor and 14.3% from outside the arc.

The scoring pace picked up in the second quarter when CC went on a 9-2 run that turned a 3-point game into a double-digit lead at 29-19 with 2:35 to play in the half. Bethel scored the next three points but then a lay-up by Autumn Thompson in the final seconds gave the Cobbers a 31-22 lead at the break.

The game changed in the third quarter when the Royals made the adjustment to press Concordia up the court and then employ a trap in the defensive end of play. The tactic paid off as CC turned the ball over and went cold from the floor. Bethel scored six of the first eight points in the second half and whittled the lead down to a single point at 38-37 with 2:42 left in the quarter. The Cobbers surrendered the lead in the final two minutes of the third period. Concordia held a 4-point advantage at 41-37 but then a turnover and five missed field goals gave Bethel a 44-43 lead heading into the final quarter.

The Royals once again started quickly in the qurter, connecting on a pair of 3-pointers to grab a 7-point lead at 50-43 with 8:40 to play. The lead would be their largest of the game but would be short-lived as CC got six straight points from Sem to trim the lead to 50-49. Bethel then pushed the margin to five points on a pair of occasions before the Cobbers embarked on their game-winning stretch which started with a pair of made free throws from Beseman.

Beseman would factor heavily in the 10-2 run at the end. She scored eight of the team's 10 points in that stretch including a "dagger" 3-point basket with 1:05 to play that gave CC a 63-62 lead after they trailed 62-60. She would close out the game with two more made free throws.

STREAK BUSTER: The win puts an end to the Cobbers' 6-game losing skid against Bethel. The last time CC bested the Royals was in 2016 when they beat the Royals three times, including an 85-76 win the quarterfinals of the MIAC playoffs.

MAKING A WAGER ON MEMORIAL: Concordia has won 13 games in the first year-plus under head coach Kim Wagers – and 10 of those victories have been at home. The Cobbers went 11-14 last season but were 8-4 in Memorial. This year they are 2-2 and are 2-0 at home. CC is now 10-4 (71.4%) in games in Memorial with Wagers on the bench.  

20-POINT TANDEM: Beseman and Sem both bested the 20-point mark on Sunday and both have two 20-point games this year. Beseman had 25 points in the Cobbers' second game of the year at St. Thomas while Sem has now posted back-to-back 20-point performances. The last time Concordia had two players score at least 20 points in a game was the third game of last season when Sem and Thompson both put up 20 points on the board.

1-2 PUNCH: Beseman and Sem also lead the Cobbers in scoring this season. Beseman is now averaging 19.0 ppg and has scored in double figures in all four games this year. Sem is putting up points on a 15.8 ppg clip and has a double-digit point total in three of the four games.        

YOU CAN'T SPELL REBOUND WITHOUT A "B": Birkemeyer was a big part of the Cobbers first-half success. She grabbed six rebounds in each of the first two quarters on her way to a career-high 13 boards. Birkemeyer leads CC in rebounding this year with a 6.9 rpg average. The 13 rebounds also push Birkemeyer's career total to 350.   

NEWCOMERS: Concordia had two players step on the court for the first time this season.  Junior Bailee Larson, who played in all 25 games last year and averaged 6.0 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, got in foul trouble early on and played only seven minutes. She grabbed three rebounds after being whistled for four fouls. Freshman Megan Haugo got her first collegiate playing experience. She hauled in four rebounds in 16 minutes of play.

STAT STUFF: Concordia was able to win the game around the basket. CC only made four shots from outside the arc but held a 32-22 advantage in points in the paint. The Cobbers also enjoyed a 42-34 edge in rebounds which translated into a 11-4 edge in second chance points.   

KEY STAT STUFF: The Cobbers are now 2-0 when they outrebound their opponent this year and 0-2 when they don't.  
       
UP NEXT: Good news for Concordia as they get to stay at home for their next game. CC will host Hamline on Thursday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. in a game that was moved back from Wednesday.           

SPONSOR: Tonight's recap is sponsored by Fargo Linoleum. Like the Cobbers' offense, Fargo Linoleum can cover the entire floor and has any type of covering that you could think of. If you need floors, contact Cobber alum Rob Bye and his staff at Fargo Linoleum.