Auburn closes out Concordia at the line, advances to fifth straight C-1 final
LINCOLN, Neb. - It's official. The Auburn Bulldogs are in the midst of a dynasty.
It didn't always look pretty from the foul line as the Bulldogs struggled all game to knock down the free ones, but when it mattered most, in the game's biggest moments, they stepped to the line with confidence.
Auburn (21-6) hit seven straight free throws in the final minute of the game to bury Concordia, 54-53 in the C-1 semifinals Friday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Late in the fourth with Carson Leslie on the bench, Carter Sunde took advantage in the paint without the shot blocker to deter him, getting to the rim twice to pull the Mustangs within two at 52-50.
The Mustangs (24-4) then were forced to foul, sending Skylar Roybal to the line. Roybal calmly hit both free throws extending the lead to four for the Bulldogs with 6.9 seconds to play.
Senior Elliott Wilson--who struggled all day against Maverick Binder on both ends of the floor--drilled a 3-pointer to make it 54-53, but by the time the ball fell through the net, the final seconds had already ticked away.
And once again, Auburn is heading back to the state finals.
A 9-0 run to break a 35-35 tie in the third quarter gave the Bulldogs the advantage for good. The two big plays in that stretch were back-to-back and-ones from Leslie and Binder.
And from there it was closing time. The rest of the game was spent at the foul line where Auburn overcame a shaky start to finish 14-of-22.
The Bulldogs withstood 21 points from Mustangs 6-foot-10 forward Quinten McCafferty and 19 from Sunde.
Auburn had four players in double figures, but Nixon Ligouri led the charge with 17 and 3-for-4 game from behind the arc.
It was the third straight year that Auburn ended Concordia's season.
The Bulldogs will look for their fourth state title in five seasons on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Watch highlights in the video above.
Auburn (18-6) 8 11 13 22- 54
Omaha Concordia (24-3) 3 18 7 25- 53
Auburn: Nixon Ligouri-17, Maverick Binder-13, Skyler Raybal-11, Carson Leslie-10, Payton Boden-3
Omaha Concordia: Quientan McCafferty-21, Carter Sunde-19, Jackson Shepherd-8, Elliott Wilson-3, Jackson Thrasher-2