Bulldogs look to rebound after win-streak snapped

By Hunter Corneliusen on Dec. 7, 2020 in Men's Basketball

SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University Men’s Basketball is looking to bounce back from last Saturday’s loss at Briar Cliff that snapped an eight-game win streak. The Bulldogs will be back in action at Friedrich Arena as they host Mount Marty on Wednesday (Dec. 9) at 7 p.m. After hosting Mount Marty, Concordia will finish out this week’s slate with a trip to Morningside on Saturday (Dec. 12). Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.

This Week

Concordia (8-2, 5-1) vs. Mount Marty (6-4, 3-2)
Wednesday, Dec. 9 | 7 p.m.
Friedrich Arena | Seward, Neb.
Webcast/Live Stats: https://portal.stretchinternet.com/cun/
Radio: 104.9 Max Country
Commentator: Evan Jones

Concordia (8-2, 5-1) at Morningside (8-1, 4-1)
Saturday, Dec. 12 | 4 p.m.
Rosen Verdoon Sports Center | Sioux City, Iowa
Webcast: https://www.msidemustangs.com/allee-gym-video-stream
Live Stats:
Radio: 104.9 Max Country
Commentator: Evan Jones


*2020-21 NAIA national rank in parentheses
-NOTE: 157 of 231 NAIA men’s basketball programs have played at least one game this season.

Scoring Offense: 87.3 (49th)
Scoring Defense: 68.7 (31st)
FG% Offense: .468 (62nd)
FG% Defense: .413 (T-47th)
3-pt FG% Offense: .347 (T-76th)
3-pt FG% Defense: .357 (108th)
Rebound Margin: +7.5 (36th)
Turnover Margin: +3.0 (38th)

Mount Marty
Scoring Offense: 75.0 (112th)
Scoring Defense: 69.2 (T-34th)
FG% Offense: .438 (T-104th)
FG% Defense: .410 (42nd)
3-pt FG% Offense: .342 (87th)
3-pt FG% Defense: .321 (70th)
Rebound Margin: -1.3 (128th)
Turnover Margin: 0.0 (T-83rd)

Scoring Offense: 77.8 (92nd)
Scoring Defense: 69.1 (33rd)
FG% Offense: .489 (33rd)
FG% Defense: .432 (71st)
3-pt FG% Offense: .315 (T-117th)
3-pt FG% Defense: .309 (51st)
Rebound Margin: 9.7  (26th)
Turnover Margin: +0.22 (81st)

Visiting fan policies
Morningside: Visiting teams wil be allotted 100 tickets for basketball contests at Morningside. For more information, please visit: https://www.msidemustangs.com/covid19-fan-protocols

Last Time out
The Bulldogs saw their eight-game win streak snapped last week when they fell to Briar Cliff 89-75. Concordia could not overcome the hot three-point shooting of the hosts as the Chargers cashed in on 18 three-point field goals while shooting 50 percent from behind the arch. While the Bulldogs shot a solid 49.2 percent from the floor, they lost the turnover battle 23-8. Junior guard Carter Kent led Concordia in scoring with 15 points, while sophomore guard Jackson Hirschfeld had one of his best performances of the season, pouring in 10 points off the bench.

Still at the top
Despite last week’s loss, the Bulldogs still maintained first place in the GPAC standings. Right now, they are joined by Dakota Wesleyan (4-0) in first. Morningside is right behind Concordia by a half-game with a conference record of 4-1. The NAIA Hoops Report (not affiliated with the NAIA National Office) however, dropped the Bulldogs to second in its GPAC power poll this week as the Bulldogs sit behind Dakota Wesleyan.

Chairman of the boards
Despite being held to a season-low (5) in rebounding in his last outing, Gage Smith is an animal on the boards this season. Over the first seven games, Smith has turned in respective single-game rebound totals of 10, four, 11, 19, 12, 18 and nine, respectively. The native of Elizabeth, Colo., is another player coming into his own in year three in the program. Smith is averaging 12.8 points and 10.8 rebounds after comparative averages of 4.7 and 4.5 last season.

Rebounding questions have been answered
With the departure of Chuol Biel, rebounding was a big question mark for Head Coach Ben Limback’s squad coming into the season. Due largely in part to the efforts of Smith, the Bulldogs have proven they can clean up the glass this season. Concordia currently ranks 36th nationally in rebound margin at +7.5 per contest.

Defensive tenacity
The Bulldogs have several offensive options to lean upon, but it may be their defense that makes them one of the GPAC’s top teams. Among conference squads, Concordia ranks second in both field goal percentage defense (.413) and scoring defense (68.7). It’s been a continuation of last season when the Bulldogs also ranked at the top of the GPAC in field goal percentage defense (.423). Rather impressively, Concordia has managed to remain a stellar defensive team despite graduating Biel (GPAC leading shot blocker in 2018-19 and 2019-20).

Scouting Mount Marty
The Lancers are coming off an unbelievable 80-79 win over Jamestown in which Mount Marty’s Kade Stearns beat the buzzer with a deep three for the win. Mount Marty trailed by 16 with just five minutes left during the contest. Senior Guard Jaiden Billings tops the scoring efforts for Mount Marty averaging 14 points per game. The Lancers are a defense basketball team as they rank 34th (69.2) in scoring defense compared to 112th (75.0) in scoring offense. Concordia will look to generate offensive opportunities by wreaking havoc on the Mount Marty offense. In the 2020 GPAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll Mount Marty was picked to finish seventh.

Scouting Morningside
The Mustangs are coming off a nail-biting 77-73 win over Midland and are ranked seventh in the latest NAIA national rankings. The only blemish to Morningside’s otherwise perfect record was an 85-73 loss at Jamestown back on Nov.11. Center Trey Brown is one of the top scoring threats in the GPAC with a scoring average of 17 points per game. Morningside also has one of the best defenses in the conference as they rank 33rd nationally in scoring defense at 69.1 points per game. Concordia will also have a tough test down low as the Mustangs have an average rebound margin of 9.6 boards per contest. Morningside was the preseason favorite In the 2020 GPAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll garnering seven first-place votes.


Projected Starting Lineups

Concordia (8-2, 5-1)
G – Carter Kent, Jr. (13.1)
G – Sam Scarpelli, Sr. (8.2)
G – Justin Wiersema, Jr. (16.8)
F – Ryan Holt, Sr. (7.3)
F – Gage Smith, Jr. (12.8)

Mount Marty (6-4, 3-2)
G – Keegan Savary, Sr. (2.5)
G – Kade Stearns, So. (6.7)
G – Allen Wilson, Sr. (6.6)
F – Elijah Pappas, Sr. (13.4)
F – Jonah Larson, Jr. (3.8)

Morningside (8-1, 4-1)
G – Zach Imig, Sr. (11.4)
G – Will Pottebaum, So. (11.3)
G – Connor Hill, So. (5.6)
F – Collin Hill, Jr. (4.2)
C – Trey Brown, Sr. (17.0)