RIVER FOREST, Ill. - The Concordia Invitational Tournament Championship game was everything it is supposed to be, heated and close. In the end, it was Beau Smith that drilled a 3-pointer with 13 seconds to play giving Concordia University Nebraska a 69-67 victory over Concordia University Wisconsin's men's basketball team on Saturday night.
Luke Doedens drove to the bucket and made a beautiful scooping left-handed layup to give CUW a one-point lead, 67-66, with 44 seconds remaining in the game. On the ensuing possession, CUNE found Smith on the left wing for what proved to be the game-winning long ball.
Overall, there were 16 lead changes and six scoring ties in the matchup. The box score was nearly identical, expect for the Bulldogs 49-33 rebounding advantage, including an impressive 19 offensive rebounds.
Doedens (senior, Cedarburg, Wis.) led all scorers with 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting, including three 3-pointers. Senior Mitchell Schneider (New Holstein, Wis.) scored 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting, to go along with five triples. Junior Brian Jackson (Carol Stream, Ill.) added nine points and eight rebounds, while senior Matt Paluchniak (Oostburg, Wis.) dished out a game-high eight assists.
Doedens earned All-CIT honors, along with sophomore Katie Luethe (Oshkosh, Wis.) from the women's team.
CUNE (11-12) had four players in double-figures and was led by Smith's 20 points. Porter Birtell, Tyler Byrd and Joel Haywood each scored 11 points. Brent Houchin chipped in nine points and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds, including eight on the offensive glass.
After Haywood knocked down a 3-pointer to begin the game for the Bulldogs, the Falcons answered with 10-consecutive points to pull ahead by seven, 10-3, just over four minutes into the game. It was CUW's largest lead of the game.
The opening half went back and forth before both teams entered the locker room tied at 31-31.
CUW (14-5) was hampered by its ability to hit free throws, as it finished 7-of-17 at the charity stripe. The Falcons did, however, control the basketball and committed six turnovers compared to the Bulldogs 11 miscues. CUW also held a 10-2 lead in points off turnovers.
The Falcons return home on Tuesday to begin a three-game homestand beginning with Marian University at 7 p.m. inside the friendly confines of the R. John Buuck Field House.