Posted by: Sports
Visiting Concordia jumped No. 5 Northwestern early thanks to a hot start by senior Beau Smith, but the GPAC-leading Red Raiders roared back. Their 18-3 run in the latter part of the second half built a double-digit lead to help carry Northwestern to an 82-55 victory on Saturday. The Bulldogs slumped to 6-18 overall and 2-14 in GPAC action.
The Bulldogs rode the hot hand of Smith early as he poured in eight of the team's first nine points. His 3-pointer at the 17:45 mark of the first half made it 9-3 in favor of Concordia. But a severe drought would soon follow. The Red Raiders held the Bulldogs scoreless on 10-straight possessions and took a 40-31 lead to the half.
Sophomore Zach Chrzan provided the highlight of the night for Concordia when he sank a 45-foot shot off the assist from Robby Thomas to beat the halftime buzzer. Chrzan finished with a career high-tying 11 points, equaling his previous best of which he accomplished versus Kansas Wesleyan on Nov. 9.
Despite strong efforts from Chrzan and Smith, the Red Raiders tacked onto their lead in the second half. Levi Ettleman drained a 3-pointer to cap a 10-3 spurt to begin the second half. A similar run in the latter stages of the second half increased the Northwestern lead to 72-48. The Red Raiders cruised from that point on.
Northwestern (19-5, 13-3 GPAC) used a balanced scoring attack to maintain its grip on the top of the conference. The Red Raiders had five double-digit scorers on the afternoon: Ettleman (15), Josh VanderPlaats (14), Ben Miller (13), Joey Habtemariam (11) and Daniel Van Kalsbeek (10). They powered the host to a stout 51.9 field goal percentage.
The Bulldogs were led by Smith's 13 points. The native of McKinney, Texas, was productive once again while being limited to 20 minutes on Saturday due to foul trouble.
Senior guard Phil Friedrich provided quality minutes off the bench with six points and three rebounds.
The game marked the eighth time this season the Bulldogs have faced a ranked opponent. Three of those contests have come against teams ranked in the top 10 at the time of the game.
Concordia played without the services of both senior Porter Birtell and junior Adam Vogt. Sophomore Daniel Grundmeier and freshman Nigel Stephenson saw action at the varsity level on Saturday for the first time in their careers.
Concordia will host Briar Cliff (18-8, 9-7 GPAC) on Wednesday at 8 p.m. inside Walz Arena. In the first meeting between the two squads, the then No. 25 Chargers topped the Bulldogs 75-68 in Sioux City, Iowa, on Dec. 5.