Concordia looks to build off momentum

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

SEWARD, Neb. – Fresh off its best week of play all season, the Concordia University men’s basketball team has hopes of building upon wins over Hastings and No. 7 Briar Cliff. Sixth-year head coach Ben Limback’s squad still has work to do if it is to climb back towards the middle of the pack in the GPAC. Opportunities await this week with Midland coming to town on Wednesday prior to a trip to No. 21 Jamestown for a clash on Saturday.

This Week

Wednesday, Jan. 16 vs. Midland (9-12, 4-8), 8 p.m.
-Webcast: Concordia Sports Network
-Radio: 104.9 Max Country

Saturday, Jan. 19 at No. 21 Jamestown (18-4, 8-4), 4 p.m.
-Webcast: Stretch Internet
-Radio: 104.9 Max Country

This week will tell a lot about just how far the Bulldogs (10-10, 3-9 GPAC) have come. It appeared their season was slogging along after double-digit losses to Dordt and Northwestern just after New Year’s. A week after the 76-59 home loss to the Red Raiders, the feeling inside the locker room had turned. The heroics of Tanner Shuck dug Concordia out of a 10-point second half hole at Hastings on Jan. 9. Shuck completed the comeback by drilling a game-winning trey from the left wing. The Bulldogs won, 87-84, marking their first conference road win of the campaign. Three days later, Shuck became the program’s 30th member of the 1,000-point club.

And what a day it was on Jan. 12. Concordia put together its best offensive performance all season, led by Brevin Sloup, who enjoyed an incredible second half. Sloup poured in 26 of his career high 33 points after halftime while sinking the Chargers, 102-92. Freshmen Carter Kent (26) and Justin Wiersema (15) also posted career high point totals. Collectively, the Bulldogs shot 58.2 percent from the floor, 58.8 percent from 3-point range and 80.0 percent from the free throw line. Concordia opened up the game with a 21-4 run and eventually surrendered the lead before Sloup went wild.

Wiersema has now started two of the past three games and has made a difference. He totaled 26 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds over last week’s pair of wins. In the win over Briar Cliff, Kent, Shuck, Sloup and Wiersema each played more than 30 minutes. Limback has mostly gone to a four-guard lineup that also features either Chuol Biel or Sammy Adjei as the five man. Grant Wragge and Tanner Wubbels also see significant action off the bench.

The Bulldogs could pull even with Midland in the GPAC standings with a win on Wednesday. The Warriors were dealt a tough blow early this season when standout Ryan Williams suffered an injury. In his absence, junior guard Bryce Parsons has emerged as the team’s biggest star. He leads the team in scoring (19.3), rebounding (7.4), assists (5.37) and steals (1.0). Midland has dropped four of its past five conference games with the lone win coming in overtime over Doane. The Warriors rank 25th nationally in offensive field goal percentage (.480).

Concordia shot just 39.6 percent from the floor when it fell, 74-61, to Jamestown on Nov. 17. The Jimmies are actually known more for their prowess on the offensive end. Jon Purintun is the GPAC’s third leading scorer at 20.4 points per game. He helps power a squad that sports national rankings of seventh in scoring offense (91.6), 11th in field goal percentage (.496) and 24th in 3-point field goal percentage (.393). Head coach Danny Neville’s squad has acclimated well to the GPAC. Jamestown is tied for third place in the league standings after this past weekend’s 75-72 win at Doane.

Projected lineups
(Scoring average in parentheses)

Concordia (10-10, 3-9 GPAC)
G – Brevin Sloup, Jr., 5-9 (16.5)
G – Carter Kent, Fr., 6-2 (9.6)
G – Tanner Shuck, Jr., 6-4 (15.2)
G – Justin Wiersema, Fr., 6-3 (4.8)
F – Chuol Biel, Jr., 6-8 (7.5)

Midland (9-12, 4-8 GPAC)
G – Dillon Faubel, Fr., 6-1 (6.1)
G – Malik Martin, Fr., 6-2 (12.6)
G – Bryce Parsons, Jr., 6-2 (19.3)
G – Bowen Sandquist, Fr., 6-2 (13.4)
F – Reggie Gradwell, Sr., 6-7 (9.3)

Jamestown (18-4, 8-4 GPAC)
G – Isaiah Dobson, Jr., 6-2 (8.3)
G – Kevin Oberweiser, Sr., 6-2 (19.0)
G – Jon Purintun, Sr., 6-2 (20.4)
F – Brock Schrom, So., 6-8 (9.2)
F – Jack Talley, So., 6-5 (6.9)