Seniors come up big in Cobbers' final home game

By Nick Ravn
The Forum
The role of spoiler wasn't one the six Concordia seniors would have scripted for themselves to finish out their college basketball careers.

But after a backbreaking loss Monday at Hamline ruined the Cobbers' postseason chances, that was exactly the part they found themselves playing Wednesday night against Augsburg.

And they played it beautifully. Playing in their final game at the Cobber Fieldhouse, motivation was not a problem as Concordia defeated the Auggies 76-71 in Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball.

Greg Dean, Daimen Crump, Nick Guida, Cornelius Bishop, Kevin Pearson and Brett Klabo six players instrumental to the Cobbers' success the past three seasons made the most of their farewell, combining for 64 of Concordia's 76 points.

"It's quite a crew," said Concordia coach Duane Siverson of his six departing seniors. "It was pretty emotional tonight. It always is on senior night."

The sextet was honored before the game, with Siverson speaking glowingly of their accomplishments to the program. He was just as adulatory afterwards.

"They did a good job of finding things to play for," said Siverson.

One of the things inspiring Bishop was the presence of his father, Tommy Bishop, who saw his son play for the second time as a Cobber.

"It feels good to have my dad here," said Bishop, a native of Anchorage, Alaska. "He's always so busy so it was nice to have him here."

With Crump (22 points), Pearson (12 points) and Dean (10 points) doing most of the offensive damage for the majority of the game, Bishop sealed the victory with consecutive hoops inside with just over two minutes to play.

The second score came after a Greg Dean steal. Dean, a 5-10 guard from Rapid City, S.D., put up his familiar numbers. In addition to his 10 points, he collected 10 assists and nine steals.

Crump moved to within 13 points of becoming just the seventh players in Concordia men's basketball history to score 1,000 points. If and in all likelihood when, that happens, he will be the first to do so in more than 20 years.

Concordia (11-8 MIAC, 12-10 overall) could finish as high as a third-place tie in the conference, but will fall victim to the league's tiebreaker criteria regardless of its fate in its final game. The top four teams advance to the MIAC playoffs.

AUGSBURG (71): Brown 1-10 1-2 4, Reed 1-4 2-2 4, Van Rossum 4-7 2-2 13, Fisher 2- 2-6 6, George 8-14 7-8 26, Thalberg 0-1 0-2 0, Lang 6-8 1-4 13, Swanson 0-2 0-0 0, Hutchinson 1-1 1-1 3, Kasaic 0-0 0-0 0, Crerand 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 24-56 16-27 71.

CONCORDIA (76): Dean 5-8 0-1 10, Benson 1-2 0-0 2, Bishop 3-5 0-0 7, Guida 1-6 3-4 5, Kjesbo 0-0 0-0 0, Crump 11-21 0-0 22, Gillhouse 3-5 1-2 7, Pearson 5-7 0-2 12, Klabo 3-5 2-4 8, Lee 1-2 1-2 3. Totals 33-61 7-15 76.

Halftime: Concordia 32, Augsburg 29. Total fouls: Augsburg 17, Concordia 21. Fouled out: George. 3-point goals: Augsburg 7-22 (Brown 1-6, Reed 0-2, Van Rossum 3-5, George 3-7, Thalberg 0-1, Swanson 0-1). Concordia 3-6 (Bishop 1-2, Crump 0-1, Pearson 2-2). Rebounds: Augsburg 31 (Fisher 6), Concordia 43 (Klabo 11, Guida 9). Steals: Augsburg 15 (George 3, Crerand 3), Concordia 17 (Dean 9). Assists: Augsburg 12 (Fisher 6), Concordia 19 (Dean 10). Turnovers: Augsburg 15 (Reed 4), Concordia 25 (Guida 6).

1996-97 Cobber Basketball