Bench mob leads third win in four days

By Jake Knabel on Jan. 7, 2017 in Men's Basketball

SEWARD, Neb. – There were some tired legs for a group playing for the third time in four days, but the Concordia University men’s basketball team found much-needed production from its bench on Saturday afternoon. The reserves accounted for 80 points in leading the Bulldogs to a 108-70 trouncing of visiting Oglala Lakota College (S.D.).

Fourth-year head coach Ben Limback’s squad completed a 3-0 week and ran its win streak to five. Now 8-1 at home this season, Concordia has improved to 12-6 overall.

“We got back at about 1 a.m. last night from Dordt. We told the guys, ‘we’re going to need some guys from the bench to step up,’” Limback said. “I thought in the first half we kind of went through the motions. It was good to see some of those guys off the bench and see what they can do. Brevin (Sloup) had a nice offensive game and Clay Reimers did some good things in the second half. Justin (Damme) was finishing well inside.

“I tip my hat to the opposing team. They played really hard with a limited number of guys.”

No starter played more than 21 minutes for the Bulldogs. That meant players like Sloup had free reign to make plays. That’s exactly what the Seward High School product did. He went 8-for-9 from the floor, including 5-for-6 from 3-point range, on his way to a career and team high 21 points. Damme (19) and Reimers (15) also turned in career best point totals.

Damme took advantage of the Bravehearts’ lack of size in the post. He made 9-of-13 shots from the field and grabbed five rebounds during his 17 minutes of action.

“I had a size advantage and I’ve gotten more confidence after the last couple of games,” Damme said. “We were getting the ball into the post and spreading the floor and getting 3-point shots. It’s easier to get the ball in the post when you have 3-point shooters surrounding you.”

Oglala Lakota College (0-6) shot a respectable 44.1 percent in the first half and cut a 23-point deficit down to 13 (52-39) at the break. But five-and-a-half minutes into the second half, Concordia had built its advantage back to 20. The cozy margin meant Limback could rest his starters. Chandler Folkerts managed seven points and seven rebounds despite playing only 11 minutes. Fresh off joining the 1,000-point club, Eli Ziegler saw 16 minutes of action and had six points and four assists.

Reimers did much of his work in the second half. Not only did he surpass a career high in points, he also hauled down a personal best 11 rebounds while adding a pair of steals and a blocked shot. Additionally, sophomore guard Chris Johnstone came off the bench in tallied 10 points in 10 minutes of play. Thirteen of the 14 Bulldogs that took the court registered in the scoring column.

Concordia shot 56.6 percent (43-for-76) for the game compared to the 36.1 percent (26-for-72) clip for the Bravehearts. The Bulldogs dominated the boards, 53-27, against the smaller Oglala Lakota squad.

The Bulldogs will be back at home on Wednesday to host 20th-ranked Midland (13-5, 6-2 GPAC) at 8 p.m. CT. Concordia has already knocked off four nationally-ranked teams. The Warriors defeated the Bulldogs, 87-77, in Fremont on Nov. 16.

After a little bit of rest, Concordia will attempt to keep the good times rolling.

“We’re going to get some rest this weekend and get ready for Midland,” Limback said. “I think we’re all pretty excited about that one.”