Bronxville, NY – The Concordia College Clippers men's basketball team battled Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) North Division foe Bloomfield College on Tuesday evening. In a game that was a must win for Concordia to make the playoffs, the Clippers surprised last year's conference tournament champions with a 92-86 OT victory to earn a spot in this year's CACC tournament.
Both teams were neck-and-neck in the opening minutes until the Deacons were able to take a 17-10 lead. Bloomfield continued to add to their lead and after two free throws at the 8:53 mark, they held a 12 point lead on the home team. The Deacons continued to use their inside style of play to keep their lead but Concordia was able to trail by only seven points, 40-33, going into halftime.
In the second half, the excitement would be turned up in the Meyer Athletic Center as the hot shooting of Argelix Gil (Brooklyn, NY) and Brandon Whitaker (Harlem, NY) would get the Clippers back into the game. After trailing by a majority of the game, Gil's jump shot at the 12:16 mark gave Concordia a 53-51 lead.
Bloomfield would respond by taking the lead back as they opened up a 69-63 lead following a three-point basket with 5:49 to play in regulation. The Clippers would get within two points of tying the game only to have the Deacons knock down another three-point basket to give them a cushion on the scoreboard.
Concordia began driving down the lane in an attempt to draw fouls and stop the clock. Their strategy worked as their persistence allowed them to cut the deficit to only two points with 26 seconds remaining. A quick foul by the Clippers sent Bloomfield to the line where they missed the front end of the one-and-one.
In their next possession, Gil got a shot off in the lane and grabbed his own offensive board and made his second chance effort to tie the game at 76-76 with nine seconds to go. Strong defensive pressure by Concordia caused the Deacons to turn the ball over on the Clippers' offensive end. Concordia was unable to get a shot off as the game would now go into overtime.
In the overtime session, it was the Clippers who came out with the more heart as Whitaker's three-point basket at the 3:37 mark would put Bloomfield away for good. The defense for Concordia continued to play strong in overtime as the Deacons went scoreless for three-and-a-half minutes.
A three-point basket by Bloomfield with 58 seconds to go gave the home crowd a bit of a scare but strong free throw shooting by the Clippers allowed them to secure the win. Concordia handed the Deacons their third conference loss of the season as the regular season is now in the books.
Gil led the Clippers with a game-high 26 points and 20 rebounds in 41 minutes of playing time. Gil also added four assists, a steal and a block while Whitaker added 23 points, five rebounds, three assists and a steal. As a team, Concordia shot 47.4% (36-of-76) from the field as they out rebounded Bloomfield 51-35.
The Clippers (12-14, 9-9 CACC) have secured the #4 playoff spot within the North Division. Concordia will take on the #1 South Division seed Goldey-Beacom College Lightning this Saturday in Wilmington, DE at 4:30pm. The two teams played their only regular season game on February 18th as the Lighting won 82-76. Be sure to visit ConcordiaClippers.com for the playoff game preview story this Friday.