Men's basketball has high hopes for this season
The Concordia Courier
By Olivia Highstreet | 11/10/2023
Last Wed., Nov. 1, Concordia men’s basketball hosted the first home exhibition game with incoming PacWest Conference member Vanguard. It was a hard-fought battle, with the Lions and the Golden Eagles neck and neck the entire game. In the end, Vanguard walked away with the win, ending in a 60-62 victory that came down to a buzzer-beater shot.
The Golden Eagles didn’t get the outcome they were hoping for, but it was a great showcase of the potential of this team. There were a few stand-out players from the evening. Graduate student Tim Adetukasi put up 16 points and collected eight rebounds for the Golden Eagles.
Adetukasi is a transfer from Indiana Wesleyan University and is ready for the next chapter of his basketball career. He said, “I think I am most excited about experiencing this journey with my teammates. Having been on a team before, you learn to appreciate the journey of a season and the moments with each teammate you have. This time runs out quickly, so it’s important to stay present in each moment.”
Connor Gleason, senior guard, also had a notable performance. Gleason contributed 10 points and made both of his three-point shots. “For the game, I wanted to enjoy being out there, being myself. A lot of different feelings come up on gameday, and being able to trust in my being was the sole goal. When I’m in that space, I feel like a kid again,” he said.
Kobe Sanders, a senior guard, has a similar focus for the season that is bigger than the game itself. He said, “I’ve set aside personal goals for this season. A character goal I have is just to be a leader this year and help us win games.” This is working for Sanders, as he collected eight rebounds along with Adetukasi.
Sanders expressed that Wednesday’s game was a tough loss but ultimately a good experience for the team to compete and prepare them for their game against Pepperdine on Nov. 6. Sanders said, “We take DI vs. DII games kind of personally because a lot of people think there’s a big difference with that, and we are ready to prove that wrong.” The green and gold kept it close with Pepperdine besting Concordia 76-64.
“The game plan is always to compete, no matter who the opponent is,” Adetukasi said, “We have to go in with the mindset to compete in every area of the game; when you are intentional about such intangible factors, the rest of the game is something that you learn to just let be.”
The Golden Eagles did just that: they competed. They stuck with the Waves the entire first half and finished the half with a 30-25 lead. Pepperdine used the half to their advantage and took the lead in the second. Concordia struggled to minimize turnovers and were less aggressive than the Waves when it came to rebounds, but they stayed in the game with their offense.
CUI led in field goals and three-point percentage, and though this wasn’t enough to secure the win, the final score is a clear indication that Concordia can compete with DI teams.
A loss is frustrating, but Adetukasi can see that the drive of this team will be what sets them apart from their competition. He said, “This program has been through some hardships in the last couple of years. Therefore, a lot of guys want to change the narrative and make it clear that this team is focused on competing with anyone. We understand that when we step on the court, we represent something bigger than ourselves, and we want to do this to the best of our ability. All these reasons and more are driving us to make this season something everyone can be proud of.”
Concordia men’s basketball will be playing again this weekend in the CCAA/PacWest Challenge hosted by Biola University. They will play in the regular season opener on Fri., Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m. vs. Cal State San Marcos. The second game will be on Sat., Nov. 11, vs. Cal State LA at 7:30 p.m.
Head over to La Mirada this weekend to support our Golden Eagles since this will be the closest game to Concordia until they are back at home on Dec. 16.
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