The Concordia Eagles were in dire need of a game to turn their season around and give them some momentum towards the end of the season. They may have found just that on Saturday night, February 2. Concordia traveled to No. 12 Hope International, in the midst of their best season in program history, and beat the Royals 75-55 inside Darling Pavilion in Fullerton, CA.
"Our second half effort was very high level tonight," Concordia head coach Ken Ammann said. "We fought for every loose ball and every rebound, and I am very proud of our effort."
Tim Harris led Concordia with 21 points, tying his high total of the year, going seven-of-17 from the field and three-of-six from three. Dakota Downs was his usual self, scoring 18 points and grabbing 11 boards, his eighth double-double of the season. Peter Smith added nine points and Concordia dominated the boards, 47-26. Concordia shot 45%, compared to 40% for Hope International.
After briefly trailing 2-0, Tim Harris opened up with a three and the Eagles were off and running. The game remained close through the first five minutes, but with the score at 11-8, Concordia got off to a 13-2 run to the 10:36 mark. Points came from all over as Lucas Simpson hit a jumper, DeLaun Frazier hit a jumper, Downs made a layup, and Harris drilled another three. Nolan Abernathy converted a layup at 9:28 to put Concordia up 28-12, their largest lead of the game. The Royals fought back a bit over the final nine minutes to trail 41-29 at the break.
Smith and Downs opened the second half with jumpers to put Concordia back up 16. Hope responded with a 13-3 run to get within six at the 15-minute mark. Harris came back with a three, but Hope was back within four, 51-47, with 12:16 left. Concordia scored seven of the next eight points to get back up 10. That would be the last Hope run, as Concordia held serve until they led 61-51 with 7:49 left. Lucas Simpson scored four straight, Harris scored a layup, Downs scored a layup, and Smith made a layup for 10 straight points and a 20-point lead with 3:35 left. It was over from there and Concordia claimed the GSAC win.
"We didn't have any negative mental moments tonight," Ammann said. "We need to continue to play hard and handle success."
Concordia dominated in the paint, 40-24, and in second-chance points, 25-2. They won in bench points 18-6 and improved to 14-8 and 3-5 in conference. The Royals dropped to 21-3 and 6-2 in the GSAC.