SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University men’s basketball team rides the longest win streak of the Ben Limback coaching era into a challenging week of conference action. The Bulldogs will have an opportunity to add to their collection of four victories over top-25 opponents. They will host No. 20 Midland (13-5, 6-2 GPAC) at 8 p.m. CT on Wednesday and then travel to No. 12 Dakota Wesleyan (15-5, 6-2 GPAC) for a 4 p.m. CT tipoff on Sunday.
During the current five-game win streak, Concordia’s offensive efficiency has been off the charts. The Bulldogs shot 56.5 percent from the floor over last week’s trio of wins, including one over defending GPAC Briar Cliff, which saw its five-game win streak brought to a halt. The past five outings have seen Concordia notch two road wins over top-25 teams in addition to a pair of GPAC triumphs.
The recent tear has been spurred by the terrific trio of Chandler Folkerts (19.1 ppg), Eli Ziegler (18.1 ppg) and Tanner Shuck (11.3 ppg). Last week Ziegler became the 29th player in program history to eclipse 1,000 career points, joining the likes of Folkerts and Limback in the club. Ziegler ranks as one of the top perimeter shooters in the nation. Among all NAIA Division II players, he ranks 11th in 3-point field goals per game (3.6) and 17th in 3-point field goal percentage (.481). Ziegler has shot 43.8 percent from beyond the arc during his four-year career as a Bulldog.
Shuck has been just as impressive from long range. He’s knocked in at least one 3-point shot in every single game thus far in his freshman season. His game has especially taken off over the last seven outings while getting cozy in the starting lineup. During that stretch, Shuck has averaged 15.7 points and has shot 52.8 percent (28-for-53) from 3-point range. Only two players in the country are shooting the trey at a higher percentage than Shuck, a native of Grand Island, Neb.
While the starters received the bulk of the playing time in the win at Dordt, Chris Johnstone made a big impact in his second game back from the injury he suffered at Morningside. In 17 minutes of action, Johnstone totaled 16 points on 5-for-7 shooting from the floor. Freshman Clay Reimers has also given big minutes off the bench. Last week he averaged 11.0 points and 6.7 rebounds.
Midland is off to a big start of its own in the new year. The Warriors took down No. 4 Northwestern, 98-84, on Jan. 4 and toppled Hastings, 77-69, three days later. Damon Overton enjoyed a monster week, averaging 27.0 points, 7.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds over the two home wins. Wednesday’s matchup will again feature a battle in the post between Folkerts and Alex Starkel, who ranks fourth in school history with 1,677 career points.
Meanwhile, Dakota Wesleyan is 0-for-2 to begin 2017. The losses have come on the road to Dakota State University, 76-67, and to Northwestern, 103-88. The Tigers remain a dangerous team with a prolific offense (No. 5 nationally in scoring) led by forward Jason Spicer (21.5 ppg) and Trae Vandeberg (18.4 ppg). Concordia defeated Dakota Wesleyan, 95-79, back on Dec. 3.
Following Sunday’s road trip, the Bulldogs will return home to host Morningside (Jan. 21).
Concordia: 12-6, 4-5 GPAC
G – Seth Curran: 7.7 ppg, 4.3 apg, 3.6 rpg, 1.1 spg, .412 fg%
G – Eli Ziegler: 18.1 ppg, 3.7 apg, 2.9 rpg, .521 fg%, .481 3-pt fg%
G – Jake Hornick: 4.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.1 spg, .350 fg%
F – Tanner Shuck: 11.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.9 apg, .548 fg%, .533 3-pt fg%
C – Chandler Folkerts: 19.1 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 1.1 spg, .691 fg%
Midland: 13-5, 6-2 GPAC
G – Damon Overton: 15.3 ppg, 3.7 apg, 3.2 rpg, .470 fg%, .288 3-pt fg%
G – Diamontae McKinley: 15.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1.0 spg, .391 fg%, .380 3-pt fg%
G – Nick Harden: 7.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.1 spg, .514 fg%
F – Nick Wood: 5.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, .698 fg%
F – Alex Starkel: 15.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.2 apg, .601 fg%, .623 ft%
Dakota Wesleyan: 15-5, 6-2 GPAC
G – Tate Martin: 14.0 ppg, 8.8 apg, 2.8 rpg, .482 fg%, .412 3-pt fg%
G – Trae Vandeberg: 18.4 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 1.7 apg, .472 fg%, .411 3-pt fg%
G – Nate Davis: 7.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.9 apg, .463 fg%, .375 3-pt fg%
G – Ty Hoglund: 15.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.2 spg, .493 fg%, .333 3-pt fg%
F – Jason Spicer: 21.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 3.9 apg, .633 fg%, .802 ft%