By Dan Jenkins, Staff Reporter
The University of Michigan-Dearborn Wolverines dropped their fourth game in a row and eighth in eleven games as Concordia used a strong second half to win, 72-54, on Wednesday.
UM-Dearborn cut the Concordia lead to just 28-26 after two free throws from freshman Brandon Cole with 3:39 left in the second quarter, but the Cardinals countered with a quick 7-0 run to take a 35-26 lead into halftime.
The Cardinals outscored UM-Dearborn 37-28 in the second half on the back of center Jesse Schienke, who finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
UM-Dearborn (4-15, 2-10) got a lift from center Jeff Fick, who scored eight points including three straight baskets for the Wolverines to start the third quarter.
Coach John Mackson said that he tried to exploit the Concordia defense by getting Fick more touches in the second half.
“We liked the matchup between him a Jesse because it was one of the times that Jeff has a quickness advantage and he can use some of his moves in the post,” Mackson said. “What I think you saw from Jeff was him going out and asserting himself, wanting to go out a senior and beat this Concordia team because I don’t think he’s ever done that.”
The Wolverines were without their leading scorer (11.9), Jamiel Strickland, who sat out with the flu. Also playing limited minutes was second-leading scorer, freshman Gage Throgmorton (10.5), who has been dealing with a hip pointer.
“We have to get tougher, that’s the bottom line,” Mackson said. “We have to have guys that are willing to make plays and do the little things. We just aren’t making the tough plays right now, we’re making the easy plays right now.”
Following the game, Mackson made no excuses for his team and bluntly stated that his team is not where it should be at this point in the season.
“We’ve got to have guys step up,” Mackson urged. “They practice the same amount that the other guys do all week and they need to be prepared to play; they weren’t.”
The loss drops the Wolverines to 3.5 games out of the race for the final spot in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletics Conference (WHAC) tournament picture, a spot currently held by Concordia. UM-Dearborn now has three straight losses to teams ahead in the standings and vying for the eighth and final tournament spot.
“These were big losses because they were against teams that we’re chasing,” Mackson said. “The thing is you have to beat the teams that you’re trying to chase down because those are the teams that you have the best chance to beat. Now we’ve made it very tough for ourselves and we have to beat a top tier team.”
The Wolverines’ path to the postseason didn’t get any easier, as they lost again on Saturday on the road, 75-59, at the hands of Aquinas.
The team stays on the road to take on Indiana Tech (Fort Wayne, IN) on Wednesday and return home on Saturday to face Lourdes (Sylvania, OH) at 7:00 pm.