Bulldogs hope to secure GPAC tournament bid Saturday at Mount Marty

By Jake Knabel on Feb. 14, 2019 in Men's Basketball

SEWARD, Neb. – With one game remaining in the regular season, the Concordia University men’s basketball team is still working on locking up a spot in the eight-team GPAC tournament. There are a few different scenarios that would give the Bulldogs the No. 8 seed, but the one they would like most involves them winning at Mount Marty on Saturday. The game is set to tip off at 3:30 p.m. CST from Cimpl Arena.

Tyler Cavalli will be in Yankton, S.D., to call the action for 104.9 Max Country. The game can also be streamed live via Mount Marty’s Stretch Internet portal.

After a run of five wins out of six GPAC contests, sixth-year head coach Ben Limback’s squad has dropped three in a row, two of which were on the road (including at No. 2 Morningside) and another came against No. 18 Dakota Wesleyan. Striving for consistency offensively has been a season long endeavor for Concordia. Over the past three games, the Bulldogs have notched scoring totals of 64, 64 and 63 points, respectively.

The Bulldogs have shown they can be dangerous when the trio of Karter Cent, Tanner Shuck and Brevin Sloup is clicking at the same time. Those three standouts combined for 73 points in Concordia’s upset of then seventh-ranked Briar Cliff on Jan. 12. The high possession nature of that game was the exception for the Bulldogs most of this season. The slower pace has played a part in Concordia games averaging 145.4 combined points through the first 29 games this season.

The Bulldogs hope their offensive heat up in the second half last week versus Dakota Wesleyan will carry over to this Saturday. After scoring only 16 points in the first half against the Tigers, Concordia shot 53.1 percent from the field and netted 47 points over the game’s final 20 minutes. That type of production could help the Bulldogs avenge their 70-69 home loss earlier this season to Mount Marty. Colby Johnson made the Lancers a winner in that instance with a 3-point shot at the buzzer.

Mount Marty has dropped its last 11 conference games since escaping Walz with a win. Johnson has continued to be the team’s most reliable scoring option, averaging 16.3 points per game. Other than Johnson and Jailen Billings, the Lancers have had difficulty putting the ball in the bucket. They rank 11th in the GPAC in both scoring offense (67.9) and field goal percentage offense (.400). Something will have to give on Saturday. Mount Marty is 1-8 in GPAC homes games while Concordia is 1-8 in conference road games.

Should the Bulldogs lock up the GPAC’s No. 8 seed, they would then look forward to playing in the conference tournament quarterfinals on Wednesday (Feb. 20). They would be at top-seeded Morningside, which has already clinched the outright GPAC regular season title.

Projected lineups
(Scoring average in parentheses)

Concordia (14-15, 6-13 GPAC)
G – Brevin Sloup, Jr., 5-9 (16.5)
G – Carter Kent, Fr., 6-2 (9.8)
G – Tanner Shuck, Jr., 6-4 (13.7)
G – Justin Wiersema, Fr., 6-3 (5.6)
F – Chuol Biel, Jr., 6-8 (6.8)

Mount Marty (6-22, 2-17 GPAC)
G – Chase Altenburg, Fr., 6-3 (4.0)
G – Jailen Billings, So., 5-10 (15.2)
G – Colby Johnson, Jr., 6-2 (16.3)
F – Saba Gvedashvili, So., 6-7 (5.3)
F – Jonah Larson, Fr., 6-6 (6.6)