SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University men’s basketball team has hopes of rebounding quickly after dropping the first of three-straight road contests. Despite a loss at 10th-ranked Dakota Wesleyan over the weekend, the Bulldogs enter this week having won 10 of their last 12 games. Head coach Ben Limback’s squad will go for regular-season sweeps while hitting the road to take on Doane on Wednesday and Dordt on Saturday. Concordia is 9-4 this season away from home.
Before running into a buzz saw at the Corn Palace, the Bulldogs had been red hot in draining at least 10 3-point field goals in 10-straight games. Concordia knocked down 18-of-37 tries from long range during the 86-82 home win over Northwestern on Jan. 29. Tanner Shuck racked up 23 points in that game, which saw the Bulldogs build a 64-40 win. The Red Raiders made it a tense finish with 14 treys of their own. Faced with Ty Hoglund and the Tigers this past Saturday, Concordia looked like a different team. It turned the ball over 18 times and shot only 28.3 percent from the floor in what amounted to a 71-50 defeat. The Bulldogs (17-7, 8-6 GPAC) could have pulled even for second place in the league standings had they won.
After first-place Morningside (15-1 GPAC), the league standings are quite jumbled. Concordia is currently tied for fifth, but is still within shouting distance of Dakota Wesleyan (10-4 GPAC), Dordt (9-6) and Mount Marty (9-6) while Northwestern (8-6) and Jamestown (7-7) are right in the mix. The top four teams in the final GPAC standings earn home games in the quarterfinals of the GPAC tournament. In terms of a national tournament berth, the Bulldogs likely do not have much margin for error with six games remaining in the regular season. The 2016-17 Concordia team won 21 games in the regular season and fell short of nationals.
Shuck and the rest of the seniors would like to make this season last as long as possible. Shuck has cracked the top 10 of the program’s all-time scoring list with 1,425 career points. Last week he passed both Scott Beck (1,406) and Scott Ernstmeyer (1,417) on the list. Only seven players in program history have eclipsed 1,500 career points. On that same list, Brevin Sloup ranks 30th with 1,064 career points. Meanwhile, Chuol Biel is one of the top shot blockers in school history. His 83 blocks rank in the top 10 on the program’s all-time list (seven players have 100 or more).
Though 1-13 in conference play, Doane has been competitive in a number of the losses, including double overtime losses to both Concordia and Northwestern. The lone GPAC win for the Tigers came at home over Briar Cliff on Jan. 11. Doane has struggled on the offensive end, averaging 70.1 points and 42.2 percent from field goal range. The team’s lone double-figure scorer Anthony Laravie, who is averaging 16.0 points per game. The Tigers are coming off an 86-60 loss at No. 17 Mount Marty.
In the first go-round in Seward, the Bulldogs topped Dordt, 91-79, in what was an evenly-played contest for the majority of 40 minutes. The two sides bare some similarities. The Defenders also like to shoot the three and make 39.0 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc. Junior forward Garrett Franken leads the team in scoring (15.6) and rebounding (7.5). Dordt is 9-2 at home this season and carries a three-game win streak into this week.
In action next week, Concordia will be back at home to host Hastings on Feb. 12 and then No. 17 Mount Marty (senior day) on Feb. 15.
Concordia (17-7, 8-6 GPAC)
G – Brevin Sloup, Sr., 5-9 (14.7)
G – Justin Wiersema, So., 6-3 (8.6)
G – Carter Kent, So., 6-2 (13.5)
F – Tanner Shuck, Sr., 6-4 (12.6)
F – Chuol Biel, Sr., 6-8 (5.7)
Doane (6-18, 1-13 GPAC)
G – Anthony Laravie, Jr., 6-0 (16.0)
G – Joe Burt, So., 6-3 (8.5)
G/F – Jaxon Harre, Jr., 6-5 (6.2)
F – Garran Pauli, Sr., 6-5 (4.6)
F – Max Masin, So., 6-6 (3.9)
Dordt (18-7, 9-6 GPAC)
G – Ben Gesink, Jr., 6-3 (7.4)
G – Jesse Jansma, Jr., 6-4 (12.4)
F – Zach Bussard, Sr., 6-6 (9.6)
F – Cade Bleeker, Fr., 6-5 (10.8)
F – Garrett Franken, Jr., 6-7 (15.6)