SEWARD — It wasn’t the type of Great Plains Athletic Conference opener that Midland University men’s basketball coach Oliver Drake was hoping for on Tuesday night.
Concordia broke to an early lead and went on to defeat the Warriors 95-71.
“We got our tails kicked tonight,” Drake said. “We learned a lot about GPAC road games and the edge that we have to approach them with in order to compete.”
Sophomore Carter Kent was a one-man wrecking crew in the early going. Kent scored his team’s first 20 points as the Bulldogs went up 20-11 with 12:24 left in the opening half.
“I was just in the right place at the right time,” said Kent, who finished with a career-high 28 points and added six assists. “There’s nothing special about it. They got me the ball down where I was open and it just worked. ... If it is there, I’m going to score it, and if it isn’t I’m going to pass it someone and they’ll score it.”
The Bulldogs used scoring runs of 15-4 and 10-2 to go up 47-24 at the break.
“It was two different styles,” Concordia coach Ben Limback said. “They wanted to hammer us inside and get offensive rebounds and we were trying to space the floor. I think we shot well tonight, which always helps all of us look good. Tonight we had multiple guys shoot with confidence.”
The Bulldogs were 35 of 62 from the field (56.5 percent), including 16 of 38 (42.1 percent) from 3-point land. MU was 26 of 69 from the floor (36.2 percent), including 6 of 22 on trey attempts.
A pair of Tanner Shuck 3-pointers fueled an 8-4 Concordia run to open the second half and extend the advantage to 55-28.
Freshman Hunter Mengel helped the Warriors cut into the lead. His basket with 10:55 remaining made it 67-51, but MU couldn’t pull any closer.
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Mengel, a graduate of Bellevue East, scored 21 points to lead MU. He hit 7 of 14 field goal attempts and went 7 of 7 from the free throw line. He also had a team-best nine rebounds to help MU to a 42-29 advantage in that department.
Laurence Merritt added 15 points and two assists while Jacob Lenagh had eight points and seven rebounds.
“We played a lot of guys that gained their first GPAC experience,” Drake said. “We will be better off as long as we respond in the right way.”
Brevin Sloup had 15 points for the Bulldogs. AJ Watson came off the bench to score 14 and Shuck chipped in 13.
Concordia improves to 5-0 overall, including 1-0 in the league. MU falls to 2-3 overall.
The Warriors play at seventh-ranked Dakota Wesleyan at 6 Saturday night in Mitchell, South Dakota.
Concordia 95, Midland 71
MIDLAND (71) — Laurence Merritt 15, Jacob Lenagh 8, Ryan Williams 7, Kylan Smallwood 5, Bowen Sandquist 5, Hunter Mengel 21, Jake Rueschhoff 5, Samuel Mailloux 3, Emanuel Bryson 2.
CONCORDIA (95) — Carter Kent 28, Brevin Sloup 15, Tanner Shuck 13, Sam Scarpelli 7, Chulo Biel 6, AJ Watson 14, Klay Uher 5, Ryan Holt 3, Christian Wilke 2, Thomas Young 2.