Bulldogs set for two in The Magic City

By Jacob Knabel on Dec. 27, 2016 in Men's Basketball

SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University men’s basketball team began its journey to the southeast Tuesday morning (Dec. 27) in anticipation of this week’s games in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Bulldogs (7-6, 2-5 GPAC) will be at No. 22 Florida Memorial University (5-3) at 6 p.m. CT / 7 p.m. ET on Thursday before playing at No. 21 St. Thomas University (9-3) for a 7 p.m. CT / 8 p.m. ET tipoff on Friday. Links to Internet broadcasts of both games are provided below.

Thursday, Dec. 29
at No. 22 Florida Memorial University, 6 p.m. CT / 7 p.m. ET

Friday, Dec. 30
at No. 21 St. Thomas University, 7 p.m. CT / 8 p.m. ET

Due to the postponement of a conference game at Dordt that had been scheduled for Dec. 16, fourth-year head coach Ben Limback’s squad has not played since a 93-89 overtime home loss to then sixth-ranked Northwestern on Dec. 10. With two top-25 foes on the docket in The Magic City, Concordia is in the midst of a stretch of five-straight games against nationally-ranked opponents. The Bulldogs are 2-3 versus the top 25 with the wins coming over No. 10 Dakota Wesleyan and No. 17 York College.

Senior post Chandler Folkerts is poised to continue his ascent up the program’s all-time lists. Possessing current school ranks of fifth in scoring (1,642) and sixth in rebounding (715), Folkerts has his sights set on Director of Athletics Devin Smith (1,659 points and 729 rebounds), who sits directly ahead of the Milford native in both categories. Folkerts is averaging 18.8 points and 7.5 rebounds. His shooting percentage of 66.2 ranks fourth best among all NAIA Division II players.

While sitting idle, Concordia moved up to the No. 1 national ranking in terms of 3-point field goal percentage (.435). The high-powered Bulldogs also boast national rankings of third in field goal percentage (.523), 12th in 3-point field goals per game (10.5), 13th in free throw percentage (.760) and 20th in scoring offense (88.2). Among all NAIA Division II players, freshman Tanner Shuck ranks eighth in 3-point field goal percentage (.526), senior Eli Ziegler ranks eighth in 3-point field goals per game (3.5) and sophomore Chris Johnstone ranks 11th in free throw percentage (.886).

Florida Memorial currently tops the NAIA’s The Sun Conference with a perfect 4-0 league mark. The Lions will try to slow Concordia down by employing its stingy defense. Head coach Artis Maddox’s squad owns national rankings of third in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.288), seventh in field goal percentage defense (.388) and ninth in scoring defense (69.0). Charlie Nedd-Araujo paces Florida Memorial with a scoring average of 18.0.

St. Thomas is a conference rival of Florida Memorial. Since a 7-0 start that helped them rise to No. 4 in the national coaches’ poll, the Bobcats have dropped three of five games. St. Thomas has relied upon prolific scoring guard Michael Walker (21.0), who recently moved past 1,000 career points. However, Walker has not appeared in the team’s last two games. Inside force Raheem Bowman is the nation’s leader in offensive rebounds per game (4.6). Head coach Patrick Gayle has guided the Bobcats to national tournament appearances in three of four seasons leading the program.

Concordia will return to conference action on Wednesday, Jan. 4 when it hosts Briar Cliff (11-4, 4-2 GPAC) for an 8 p.m. CT tipoff.

Projected lineups

Concordia (7-6)
G – Seth Curran: 8.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.8 apg, .464 fg%, .419 3-pt fg%
G – Chris Johnstone: 11.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 2.6 apg, .437 fg%, .886 ft%
G – Eli Ziegler: 17.7 ppg, 3.5 apg, 2.6 rpg, .526 fg%, .474 3-pt fg%
F – Tanner Shuck: 10.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg, .577 fg%, .526 3-pt fg%
C – Chandler Folkerts: 18.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 1.7 bpg, .662 fg%, .728 ft%

Florida Memorial (5-3)
G – Aaron Bryant: 14.5 ppg, 2.8 apg, 2.5 rpg, .413 fg%
G – Charlie Nedd-Araujo: 18.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg, .392 fg%, .346 3-pt fg%
G – Travis Mitchell: 4.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg, .458 fg%, .545 ft%
F – Jaelyn Johnson-Coston: 15.1 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 1.0 spg, .427 fg%
C – Roody Romian: 3.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg, .393 fg%, .700 ft%

St. Thomas (9-3)
G – Mikon Hewitt: 8.4 ppg, 7.0 apg, 2.6 spg, .476 fg%, .304 3-pt fg%
G – Armand Shoon: 11.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.2 spg, .398 fg%
G – Timothy Sada: 12.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg, .369 fg%, .406 3-pt fg%
F – Kristers Zeidaks: 14.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.1 spg, .650 fg%
C – Raheem Bowman: 17.4 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 1.0 bpg, .638 fg%, .420 ft%