FORT WAYNE – Concordia played the role of spoiler and did it in dramatic fashion.
The Cadets kept Northrop from the SAC regular-season championship with a 59-58 road win Friday.
Concordia (15-3, 5-2 SAC) prevented Northrop (15-4, 5-2) from its first league title in 25 years by holding the Bruins off at the end.
North Side (10-5, 5-2) beat Bishop Dwenger 72-65 to win the championship by virtue of the tiebreaker. The Redskins beat the Cadets and Bruins during the regular season. Concordia could have won the SAC title with a win over Northrop and a loss by North Side.
The SAC is tough, Concordia senior Thomas Starks said. We knew this was a big game, we practiced hard all week, and we stayed composed. We knew Northrop was a tough team, and we knew it was two teams who could potentially win the SAC. You can’t control everything, so you just have to go out and play hard and you never know what is going to happen. No matter the outcome (of the SAC race), we knew we were going to come out and play hard for the victory.
The Cadets led 59-58 with 4.5 seconds left, and the Bruins had the ball. Concordia’s defense was up to the task and forced Northrop into a turnover.
It wasn’t pretty at the end, but we did just enough defensively, Concordia coach Josh Eggold said. I was proud of our guys coming into an atmosphere like this. We did not have our own fate in our hands but we still fought through some adversity. The last minute you could see it in their eyes that they just wanted to win.
Starks led Concordia with 17 points. D.J. McCall had 15 and Brian Germaux 10.
It was wild, Starks said of the final seconds. The place was erupting, and we couldn’t even hear each other talk. You just have to rely on each other and know you have one another’s back and good things will happen.
It spoiled a milestone night for Northrop senior Bryson Scott, who scored 25 points and moved up to No. 2 on Fort Wayne’s all-time scoring list. The Purdue recruit now has 1,845 points, ahead of James Hardy’s 1,823 but behind Deshaun Thomas’ 3,018.
He wants to win, so he is in there heartbroken because he lost his last game at home and missed out on a chance at a conference title, Northrop coach Barak Coolman said of Scott.
Brenton Scott finished with 16 points, and Cory Womack added 10.
The three-time SAC tournament champion Bruins were going for their first regular-season conference title since 1988 and beating the Cadets would have done it.
It was one of those things where the ball didn’t bounce the right way, Coolman said. We are no different than we were yesterday. We had never won a SAC regular-season championship with this team, and it is still the same. It is disappointing, but it all comes down to the end of the season.