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Eric Peterson, Published January 28 2012

Augsburg clips Concordia in final seconds

MOORHEAD – Concordia was seconds away from a signature victory Saturday.

Andy Grzesiak-Grimm erased that notion.

Grzesiak-Grimm sank a contested jumper in the middle of the lane with six seconds remaining to lift Augsburg to a 72-71 victory against the Cobbers in Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball at Memorial Auditorium.

“They are a veteran team,” Cobbers junior Brandon Fisher said of Augsburg. “They know how to handle those situations. They just made the plays and we didn’t.”

The Cobbers (7-11, 5-8 MIAC) had a two-game winning streak snapped. Concordia also missed a chance at victory against a top-level MIAC team.

Augsburg (12-6, 9-4) is in third place in the conference, one game behind St. Thomas and Gustavus for the top spot in the MIAC.

“That would have been a nice win,” Cobbers head coach Rich Glas said. “It was a great college basketball game. We just didn’t play perfect all the time. We made a couple key mistakes.”

Concordia took a 71-70 lead after junior center Jason Huus sank 1 of 2 foul shots with 37 seconds remaining. The Cobbers had a chance to extend that lead, but junior point guard Dewon McKenzie missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 23 seconds remaining.

Augsburg grabbed the rebound and called time out to draw up a final play. Grzesiak-Grimm got the ball in the post and then made a move into the middle of the lane.

A Concordia defender got a hand on the basketball as Grzesiak-Grimm rose for the shot, but the 6-foot-8 senior powered through the strip attempt to make the basket.

“We had a hand on the ball and it rolled around and went it,” Glas said. “That’s the way it goes some days.”

Concordia quickly took the ball out and got it into McKenzie, who raced up the court. McKenzie spun away from a few would-be defenders on the left wing, but his fading 15-footer bounced off the rim as the final buzzer sounded.

“We wanted Dewon to attack the basket before they had a chance to set up their defense,” Glas said, explaining why he didn’t call a timeout in the closing seconds. “He had a nice look at it and it just didn’t go in.”

While the Cobbers shot 53 percent (29 of 55) from the field, they struggled on free throws. Concordia shot 50 percent (8 of 16) from the foul line.

“When you shoot 50 percent from the line, eventually in a close game, that’s going to cost you,” Glas said. “Free throws win ballgames and you’ve got to step up and make free throws.”

McKenzie paced the Cobbers with 15 points and was one of five Concordia players to score in double digits. Fisher added 14 points and seven rebounds.

“We made them earn their points,” Glas said. “I thought we played a pretty solid 40 minutes of basketball. We still have our little ups and downs.”

AUGSBURG (12-6, 9-4 MIAC): Grzesiak-Grimm 4-13 4-8 12, Polta 1-6 3-5 5, Weber 6-10 0-0 15, Schmidt 3-6 2-2 10, Sorenson 0-2 0-0 0, Seidlitz 6-10 2-2 18, Cur 2-3 0-0 6, Humphrey 1-2 2-3 4, Bredow 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 24-53 13-20 72.

CONCORDIA (7-11, 5-8): Fisher 6-8 0-0 14, Huus 6-8 1-3 13, McKenzie 6-17 1-3 15, Rude 0-1 2-4 2, Nana-Kweson 4-10 2-2 10, Molina 1-1 0-0 2, Baildon 2-2 0-2 5, Golberg 0-0 0-0 0, Flotterud 0-2 0-0 0, Martinson 4-6 2-2 10. Totals 29-55 8-16 71.

Half: AC 33, CC 32. 3-point goals: AC 11-24 (Weber 3-7, Schmidt 2-3, Sorenson 0-2, Seidlitz 4-8, Cur 2-3, Humphrey 0-1), CC 5-13 (Fisher 2-2, McKenzie 2-10, Baildon 1-1). Total fouls: AC 15, CC 15. Rebounds: AC 34 (Grzesiak-Grimm 12), CC 32 (Fisher 7, Nana-Kweson 7). Assists: AC 10 (four players with 2), CC 12 (Molina 3). Turnovers: AC 15 (Weber 4, Seidlitz 4), CC 14 (McKenzie 4).