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Eric Peterson, Published February 22 2013

Augsburg knock off Cobbers men in MIAC semifinals

MOORHEAD – Concordia’s Memorial Auditorium magic finally fizzled Friday night.

Augsburg senior guard Tyler Schmidt scored a game-high 20 points, including 15 in the first half. Schmidt’s effort helped fuel the Auggies to a 74-67 victory against the Cobbers in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball semifinals.

“I never saw it ending like this,” said Cobbers senior Andrew Martinson, who had 12 points. “It’s tough with this group we had. We were so close.”

The Cobbers (18-8) lost at home against a MIAC opponent for the first time this season, and also had their seven-game winning streak snapped. Concordia was 10-0 against conference opponents at Memorial prior to Friday.

“It’s one of those nights, and it’s really unfortunate that it happened to be in the MIAC semifinals,” Martinson said.

Augsburg (21-6) likely ended the Cobbers season because Concordia is unlikely to earn an at-large bid the NCAA Division III tournament. The Auggies play at St. Thomas on Sunday for the MIAC championship. The winner of that game earns an automatic bid to the national tournament.

“We can be disappointed we lost this game, but we had a great year,” said Cobbers head coach Rich Glas. “Eventually this sting will wear off. And when you look at the whole work … this loss will disappear at some point in time. You hardly remember the games, but you sure remember the relationships.”

The Cobbers hadn’t played in the MIAC semifinals since 2003-04 and haven’t made the NCAA tournament since 1995-96.

“It’s really tough to juggle,” Martinson said. “On one hand we had a good season, but on the other hand we fell short, and that’s all there is to it. We fell short of what we wanted to do.”

Augsburg led by as many as 14 points in the second half before holding off a frenzied late Concordia rally. The Auggies have a 10-3 road record this season, but lost in Moorhead 88-68 in late January.

“We are a great road team,” said Augsburg head coach Aaron Griess. “We go into these road games with the mentality that it’s us against the world. … I think the road is good for us actually.”

The Cobbers clawed within two points of the lead in the final two minutes. Concordia senior point guard Dewon McKenzie scored a 3-point play that cut the Augsburg lead to 69-67 with 1 minute, 15 seconds remaining in the second half. Those points capped a 14-2 run.

Concordia shot 38 percent (26 of 68) from the floor. That is the second-lowest percentage the Cobbers shot at home this season. Concordia shot 36 percent (21 of 59) from the field in a 70-57 loss against Division II foe Minnesota State Moorhead in November. That was Concordia’s only other home loss this season.

“We just couldn’t get the ball to go in the basket,” Glas said. “Is that because we haven’t been in this position where it’s one and done? There is a little more on the line and you tighten up a bit.”

The Cobbers have six seniors who likely played their final college games. They went 5-15 in the MIAC last season and improved that to a 15-5 mark this season to earn the No. 2 seed for the MIAC tournament. Augsburg was the No. 3 seed.

“We just didn’t shoot the ball well,” Glas said. “It wasn’t because we lacked effort, and I tip my hat to Augsburg. They played really a nice game.”

AUGSBURG (21-6): Rasmussen 4-10 0-0 8, Kornbaum 8-12 2-2 18, Schmidt 7-14 2-2 20, Hines 4-10 3-4 13, Seidlitz 2-5 4-7 8, Weber 0-0 0-0 0, Cur 3-6 0-0 7. Totals 28-57 11-15 74.

CONCORDIA (18-8): Fisher 3-9 3-3 10, Huus 4-6 0-0 8, McKenzie 6-10 4-5 18, Nana-Kweson 2-13 1-4 5, Lindahl 4-9 0-0 10, Martinson 5-16 2-3 12, Bolger 0-2 0-0 0, Flotterud 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 26-68 10-15 67.

Half: AC 34, CC 30. 3-point goals: AC 7-19 (Schmidt 4-9, Hines 2-6, Seidlitz 0-1, Cur 1-3), CC 5-25 (Fisher 1-5, McKenzie 2-4, Nana-Kweson 0-3, Lindahl 2-5, Martinson 0-7, Bolger 0-1). Total fouls: AC 9, CC 18. Rebounds: AC 33 (Kornbaum 9), CC 40 (Nana-Kweson 7). Steals: AC 2 (Rasmussen, Hines), CC 3 (McKenzie 3). Assists: AC 12 (Hines 5, Seidlitz 5), CC 14 (McKenzie 8). Turnovers: AC 10 (Kornbaum 4), CC 11 (Huus 3, Nana-Kweson 3). A-412.

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Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

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