SEWARD, Neb. – For the first time since its 2004-05 national runner-up campaign, the Concordia University men’s basketball program has begun a season with four-straight victories. The Bulldogs remained unbeaten thanks to a 93-67 win over visiting Kansas Wesleyan University on Saturday afternoon. The standout duo of Chandler Folkerts and Jamie Pearson combined for 36 points in the victory.
Third-year head coach Ben Limback’s squad owns wins over Johnson & Wales (Colo.), No. 8 Bellevue, Mayville State (N.D.) and Kansas Wesleyan. Limback has effectively used a deep roster to fuel the 4-0 start.
“We have a lot of guys that can really play,” Limback said. “It’s just about finding the right combinations. They work hard every day in practice. I like the mindset from our guys. It’s one of those things where every night somebody else can step up.”
A 25-7 run that began late in the first half and spilled into the second half gave Concordia a cozy 51-33 advantage. Folkerts punctuated the spurt with a two-handed flush off the drive and pitch from Micah Kohlwey. Folkerts’ work on the inside, in addition to Concordia’s dead-eye free throw shooting (21-for-24, 87.5 percent), allowed for a 26-point victory margin despite cold 3-point shooting (6-for-21).
The Coyotes had hopes of stealing a road victory when their 15-5 run tied the score at 26-26 with 4:39 left in the first half. But Pearson followed with a quick triple and the Bulldogs dominated the rest of the way. The second half then turned into a clinic with Concordia consistently making its way into the paint for point-blank buckets. The Bulldogs held a 38-16 advantage in points in the lane.
Kansas Wesleyan (1-3) struggled to contain Concordia’s stars. Folkerts went 7-for-10 from the floor while adding six rebounds and three blocks. Pearson posted 17 points and dropped five dimes. Folkerts and Pearson combined to go 12-for-12 from the foul line.
Fourteen of the 16 Bulldogs to see action registered in the scoring column. Eli Ziegler joined Folkerts and Pearson in double figures with 10 points. Nathan Toenjes and Max Wegener chipped in eight points apiece off the bench.
The Concordia reserves accounted for 40 of the team’s 93 points.
“I think it’s working out really well,” said Toenjes of his role. “Our rotation works out. It’s not a problem at all when our starters get tired. We don’t lose anything coming in with our next guys.”
Kansas Wesleyan’s Dominique Johnson had come off a combined 59 points in his previous two games. He managed just six points on Saturday. The Coyotes, a member of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, got a team high 13 points off the bench from Keion Criswell.
Concordia committed only 12 turnovers while Kansas Wesleyan had 20. The Bulldogs outshot the Coyotes, 47.8 percent to 40.0, and outrebounded them, 42-34.
The two teams also met a year ago in a contest played in Salina, Kan. Concordia rallied for an 85-72 win after trailing by as many as 23 points in the 2014-15 season opener.
The Bulldogs will take their unblemished record into next week’s conference action. The Bulldogs open up GPAC play with a trip to Hastings (4-2) on Wednesday. Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m.