Tori Ehlert helped spark a second half comeback in Concordia's 71-65 win over Bethel.
Courtesy of GoCobbers.com, Release: February 11
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MOORHEAD, Minn. -- At the halftime break, Concordia was down by nine, was struggling to get into an offensive flow and was in jeopardy of falling completely off the landscape for the top two spots in the MIAC playoffs. In the final 20 minutes, the Cobbers scored 47 points, only turned the ball over four times and rolled to a 71-65 victory over tenacious Bethel.
The impetus behind the comeback was the inside tandem of Melanie Hageman and Tori Ehlert. Hageman scored 25 points in the second half alone and finished the game with a career-high 31 points. Ehlert knocked down eight points in the final frame, finished with 12 points and was two rebounds shy of a double-double.
The Cobbers finished the game by holding a commanding 37-20 advantage in points scored in the "paint" area.
Bethel senior guard Jen Ahlberg hit on four 3-point field goals and finished with a team-high 20 points. She was the only Royal to record more than eight points in the game.
Concordia shot 54.3% (19-of-35) in the deciding period and was able to score on their seven of their first eight possessions to take a nine-point halftime deficit and tie the score at 42-42. From that point on, Concordia outscored the Royals 29-23 en route to their 14th win in conference play.
The Cobbers are now 14-4 in the MIAC and only .5 games behind second-place Gustavus. Concordia improves their overall record to 17-6. The loss drops Bethel to 8-10 in the conference and 13-10 overall. They are locked in a fifth-place tie with Hamline and need one more win to clinch a playoff spot.
Bethel took control of the early part of the game by knocking down the open outside jumper and taking advantage of the Cobbers' cold touch from the floor. After a Hageman layup to start the game, Concordia was held without a field goal until the 10:13 mark. Bethel used that cold streak to build a 15-2 lead and even pushed the margin to 14 points at 20-6 with 9:33 remaining in the opening half.
The Cobbers struggled to keep the game within 10 points for the rest of the half and finished the period by hitting on just seven of their 20 field goal attempts.
The second half was a completely different story. Concordia used good ball movement on offense to pound the ball inside to set up Hageman and Ehlert.
After Concordia tied the game at 42-42 at the 14:21 mark on a jumper by Ehlert, Bethel would break to a mini-lead before being reeled in by the Cobbers on four different occasions. The first lead of the second half for Concordia came at the 6:07 mark when Sarah Krabbenhoft hit on three free throws after being fouled on her attempt behind the arc.
The Cobbers quickly pushed the lead to four points at 57-53 with 5:25 left and never trailed for the rest of the game.
Concordia will finish off the regular season by playing at St. Thomas on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 7:00pm and then returning home to host Hamline on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 1:00pm. Both games can be heard live via the internet at: www.cord.edu/dept/sports/broadcast.php