The No. 22 Concordia Eagles gutted out their fifth GSAC home win of the year on Saturday night, February 8, as they beat Hope International 62-57 in front of a packed Homecoming crowd inside CU Arena.
Donnell Phifer led Concordia with 14 points, but the game was all about balance for Concordia, as six other players scored five or more points, and Concordia shot 45% from the field. Concordia forced 22 turnovers for 13 steals, and 25 points off turnovers. They outscored Hope's bench 20-10 and held the Royals to zero three-pointers.
Donnell Phifer hit an early fall away, and Concordia trailed 5-4 three minutes in. DeLaun Frazier converted at the basket to make it 6-5 Concordia. Frazier dialed in from deep to make it 11-5. Lucas Simpson swooped to the hoop and made it 15-12, and a possession later Kiefer Douse went coast to coast after a steal at midcourt. Stephen Grosey nailed a three after a missed HIU dunk at 10:00 to make it, 20-12. Two HIU freebies cut it back to 21-16. The teams traded buckets until Phifer hit a step back jumper to make it 28-22. Mike Hauser hit a late three and Concordia went to break up 32-26.
Montreal Harris hit a 15-foot jumper, Phifer converted in transition, and Simpson made a diving save near midcourt and got the ball back in transition for the 38-28 edge at 16:56, forcing a HIU timeout. Hope scored five straight out of the timeout. Hope converted down low to make it 40-37 with 13 minutes left. Phifer spun and finished in the lane, and Grosey took a steal to the coast, 44-37. Hope hit a corner jumper to cut it to three, 46-43, with nine left. Douse glided past a defender in transition at 7:43 to push it back to six. HIU hit a running one-hander at 5:08, with a foul, to cut it to 51-50. The Royals hit a fall away jumper to make it 53-52 with 3:36 left, forcing a 30-second Concordia timeout. After two missed Concordia free throws, a mad scramble on the offensive glass at the other end led to a HIU three-point play, and a 55-53 lead. Smith responded with a three-point play to regain the lead. The Eagles were unable to inbound the ball, and Hope closed to 58-57 with 30 seconds left. Tommy Stangl hit two foul shots at the other end. Hope missed a three at their end and Concordia sealed it 62-57.
Concordia wrapped the week with two wins, going to 18-6 and 5-3 in conference, while Hope International dropped to 14-9 and 2-6 in the GSAC. The Eagles will look to pick up a couple road wins next week, first at The Master's at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, February 11.