The Wildcats hosted Concordia University on Saturday night to close out their opening weekend classic.
The two sides traded baskets early with Johnson & Wales holding the 12-7 lead after five minutes of play. The Wildcats made small scoring runs but the Bulldogs continued to match their offensive output to keep themselves into the contest. A strong push by Concordia allowed them to come within three points midway through the first half. The 'Cats bolstered their lead to ten points with five minutes left in the first half. The Bulldogs rallied over the final five minutes to cut the Wildcat's 12 point lead down to two points, as Johnson & Wales took a 45-43 lead into the break.
The second half started with the Bulldogs hitting a layup to tie the game 45-45. Three straight points from King Grant-Perry (Cleveland, Ohio) gave JWU the 48-45 advantage. Over the next five minutes the two teams traded points with Andrew Romero III (Northglenn, Colo.) breaking up a 59-59 draw with a three pointer at 11:33. The Bulldog's offense stalled as the 'Cats extended their lead to 70-61 with 8:04 to play. Romero continued to hit big shots down the stretch for Johnson & Wales as Concordia fought to keep themselves close.
Concordia's Brevin Sloup came up with two big three pointers for the Bulldogs to tie the game 80-80 with 1:02 left in the game. A made free throw by CU's Jake Hornick gave the Bulldogs the 81-80 lead with 28 seconds to play. Romero hit a jumper with eight seconds left to put JWU back up top 82-81. Following a Concordia timeout, Tanner Shuck missed a three pointer at the buzzer as Johnson & Wales held on for the 82-81 victory.
Romero had a game high 26 points for Johnson & Wales and Andrew Bonner (Flagstaff, Ariz.) added 19 points. Romero completed his first double-double of the season with a game high 10 rebounds and dished out four assists. Johnson & Wales shot 51.6 from the field and had 15 second chance points. Eli Ziegler had 20 points for the Bulldogs and Chandler Folkerts brought down eight rebounds.
The Wildcats travel to Greeley on Wednesday night when they take on Northern Colorado at 7pm.