Bulldogs set to move on from CIT title

By Jacob Knabel on Jan. 30, 2017 in Men's Basketball

SEWARD, Neb. – The 66th Concordia Invitational Tournament has come and gone. CIT champions for the 27th time in program history, the Concordia University men’s basketball team can now zero in on the stretch run. Just seven games remain on the regular-season schedule for fourth-year head coach Ben Limback’s squad. Up next is another home contest with Grace University serving as the opponent for Wednesday’s 7 p.m. CT tipoff. Then on Saturday, the Bulldogs return to GPAC play with a trip to Mount Marty for a 4 p.m. tilt.

Wednesday’s game will be available via the Concordia Sports Network. Saturday coverage will include 104.9 Max Country radio and a webcast provided by Mount Marty.

Good vibes have returned for CUNE, which won all three home games last week, triumphing over Hastings, 78-76, Concordia-Chicago, 104-82, and Concordia-Ann Arbor, 85-58. Over those three outings, the Bulldogs shot 50.7 percent from the floor while averaging 89.0 points per game. At CIT, Chandler Folkerts took home tournament MVP honors for the second year in a row. He was joined on the all-tournament team by freshman Tanner Shuck.

After going a combined 9-for-43 from 3-point range in back-to-back home losses to Midland (Jan. 11) and Morningside (Jan. 21), CUNE heated back up. Last week the Bulldogs went 35-for-82 (.427) from beyond the arc while sinking at least 10 treys in each game. Shuck regained his shooting stroke and netted 4-of-7 3-point tries in the victory over CU-Chicago. It was an especially big week of long-range shooting for senior Seth Curran, who made 10-of-20 shots from the perimeter. He scored 19 points in the win over Hastings.

CUNE remains one of the most efficient offensive teams in NAIA Division II. Nationally, it ranks second in field goal percentage (.519), third in 3-point field goal percentage (.419), 11th in 3-point field goals per game (10.3), 17th in free throw percentage (.754) and 25th in scoring offense (87.0). Folkerts ranks fifth nationally in field goal percentage (.674) while Shuck ranks 13th among all NAIA Division II players in 3-point field goal percentage (.475).

Grace is affiliated with the National Christian College Athletic Association and is located in Omaha. The Royals (12-11) own wins over quality opponents such as Dakota State (S.D.), Hastings, Nebraska Wesleyan and York. In its most recent outing, sophomore guard D.J. Hanes piled up 42 points in a 106-96 loss to Haskell Indian Nations (Kan.).

Mount Marty (4-18, 0-12 GPAC) remains in search of its first conference victory. The Lancers’ best chance for a GPAC win came on Jan. 7 when it dropped an 81-79 decision at Dordt. Mount Marty has been trigger happy from the 3-point arc, having averaged 29.0 3-point attempts per game this season. Junior guard OJ Thok has nailed 61-of-148 (.412) tries from 3-point range.

Next week Concordia will host Doane (12-13, 3-10 GPAC) at 8 p.m. on Feb. 8 before a trip to No. 25 Briar Cliff on Feb. 11.

Projected lineups

Concordia (15-8, 5-7 GPAC)
G – Seth Curran: 8.4 ppg, 4.1 apg, 3.5 rpg, .433 fg%, .378 3-pt fg%
G – Eli Ziegler: 16.7 ppg, 3.8 apg, 3.0 rpg, .488 fg%, .442 3-pt fg%
G – Chris Johnstone: 10.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.2 apg, .461 fg%, .375 3-pt fg%
F – Tanner Shuck: 10.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg, .500 fg%, .475 3-pt fg%, .800 ft%
C – Chandler Folkerts: 18.1 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.4 bpg, .674 fg%

Grace (12-11)
G – D.J. Hanes
G – Jarrod Sheffield
G – Austin Shappell
F – Galat Toang
F – Calisto Nyambura

Mount Marty (4-18, 0-12 GPAC)
G – OJ Thok: 13.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.5 apg, .407 fg%, .412 3-pt fg%
G – Hunter Martin: 6.7 ppg, 2.4 apg, 1.9 rpg, .371 fg%, .880 ft%
G – Zach Telles: 6.5 ppg, 1.1 rpg, .354 fg%, .350 3-pt fg%
F – Drew Cheskie: 11.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, .589 fg%
G – Patrick Ciganovic: 10.5 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.3 apg, .391 fg%, .333 3-pt fg%