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Forum staff reports , Published February 06 2013

Cobbers men rally past St. John's to win in overtime

MOORHEAD – When it appeared Concordia was going to fall apart late in regulation Wednesday night, senior Aaron Lindahl served as the adhesive.

Lindahl drained two 3-pointers in the final 30 seconds of the second half at Memorial Auditorium. Those clutch shots helped force overtime as the Cobbers rallied for a 74-67 victory against St. John’s in Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball.

“He is the glue really,” Cobbers head coach Rich Glas said of Lindahl, who is from Benson, Minn. “He is a leader out there on the court.”

The Cobbers (16-7, 13-5) have won five consecutive games and are in position to earn the No. 2 seed for the MIAC playoffs. Concordia can earn that second spot, which gets a first-round bye and a home game in the semifinals, with a victory Saturday at Hamline.

“This two seed would be really big,” said Lindahl, who scored a team-high 21 points. “This crowd has been awesome all year. We love playing in front of this crowd.”

St. John’s (10-12, 9-8) missed a chance to strengthen its playoff position. The Johnnies are in sixth place in the league and have three conference games remaining on their schedule. Six teams make the MIAC playoffs.

“This game was vitally important for us,” St. John’s head coach Jim Smith said. “The guys played hard, they played their guts out and that’s all I can ask for. We left everything on the court.”

St. John’s was poised to become the first MIAC team to win at Memorial this season, building a 58-48 lead after senior post Chris Neumann scored an inside basket with 3 minutes, 12 seconds remaining. The Cobbers have a 9-0 home record against MIAC teams this season. The Johnnies led by as many as 13 points in second half.

“We just couldn’t get it done tonight,” Smith said. “That’s too bad because we had such a nice lead.”

The Cobbers sank four 3-pointers in the final three minutes of regulation to rally from the late double-digit deficit. Senior guard Andrew Martinson capped the unlikely comeback, draining a 3-pointer from the right wing with 5 seconds remaining in the second half. That tied the score at 65-65 and forced overtime.

“When you can hit a long 3-pointer when the pressure it on, that is great for them,” Smith said. “They hit some tough 3-point shots. I thought we had pretty good defense on them, but they hit them when they had to hit them, and that’s the mark of a good team.”

Martinson drained the shot with defender’s hand in his face.

“I don’t think it was a tough look for that kid,” Lindahl said. “Every time he’s got the ball you think it’s going in.”

Cobbers sophomore Scott Flotterud played a key role in overtime, scoring four consecutive points that gave his team the lead for good. The 6-foot-7 center scored an inside basket, off a Lindahl feed, to give Concordia a 68-65 with 1:18 to play in overtime. Flotterud scored 12 points and eight rebounds off the bench. The Cobbers closed overtime on a 10-2 run.

“I might be bad to say, but I don’t think we ever felt like we were going to lose that game,” Lindahl said. “We are playing pretty confident ball right now. We always kind of have that confidence, especially playing at home.”

SJU (10-12, 9-8 MIAC): Kuck 2-10 2-2 6, Neumann 9-14 0-1 18, Marx 8-13 5-6 26, Wittenborg 0-3 0-2 0, McKenzie 1-7 0-0 2, Schmitt 2-8 0-0 4, Butcher 2-7 0-0 4, Risinger 0-2 0-0 0, Dittberner 1-3 0-0 3, Meyer 0-2 0-0 0, Orgas 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 27-72 7-11 67.

CONCORDIA (16-7, 13-5): Fisher 2-7 0-0 5, Huus 0-4 2-2 2, McKenzie 4-9 2-2 10, Nana-Kweson 4-13 3-4 11, Lindahl 8-15 1-1 21, Rude 1-4 0-0 2, Martinson 3-10 0-0 8, Bolger 1-1 1-2 3, Flotterud 5-9 2-2 12. Totals 28-72 11-13 74.

Half: CC 29, SJU 29. 3-point goals: SJU 6-15 (Kuck 0-2, Neumann 0-1, Marx 5-7, Wittenborg 0-1, McKenzie 0-2, Butcher 0-1, Dittberner 1-1), CC 7-22 (Fisher 1-3, McKenzie 0-2, Nana-Kweson 0-3, Lindahl 4-7, Rude 0-1, Martinson 2-6). Total fouls: SJU 16, CC 17. Rebounds: SJU 41 (Marx 16), CC 51 (three players with 8). Assists: SJU 14 (Dittberner 5), CC 17 (McKenzie 8). Steals: SJU 5 (Kuck 2), CC 9 (McKenzie 5). Turnovers: SJU 11 (Neumann 3), CC 16 (three players 3).

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com