SEWARD, Neb. – For the most part, things went about as Concordia University Men’s Basketball would have scripted it on Friday (Nov. 6) at the 21st annual Cattle Classic. Though both teams started out slow offensively, there was never a whole lot of doubt about this one. The Bulldogs cruised to a 107-48 victory over visiting Emmaus Bible College (Iowa). The visiting Eagles of Dubuque, Iowa, shot only 31.7 percent from the floor.
This was a night for Head Coach Ben Limback to get a good look at the entire varsity roster. Thirteen different Bulldogs (2-1) saw action and every one of them scored at least four points.
“It was nice to see other guys play,” Limback said. “We’re still trying to evaluate our rotations and stuff. I thought our bench, our freshmen and all our guys did a nice job competing all the way through. I know our guys were looking forward to being at home this weekend and it was great to have everyone get a chance to play.”
If Limback were to nitpick, he probably would have liked more energy and better offensive execution out of the gate. After eight minutes of play, Concordia led by a 12-0 score. The Bulldogs were able to settle into the game as Emmaus (0-1) missed its first 13 shots from the field. Junior Gage Smith put together a nice first half and finished the game with eight points and 11 rebounds.
Because of the even distribution of minutes, no one single Bulldog produced eye-popping statistics. Ten Concordia players recorded eight points or more, including three in double figures: Justin Wiersema (11), Cory Davila (10) and Sam Scarpelli (10). There were plenty of goods looks near the basket on an evening that saw the Bulldogs shoot 53.8 percent (43-for-80) from the floor.
Concordia expected to take care of business in this contest. Despite a stagnant first several minutes, the Bulldogs built a 44-21 halftime lead over the Eagles, who compete as a member of the Midwest Christian College Conference (National Christian College Athletic Association). Emmaus entered all 17 players it traveled into the contest. Garrett Devries paced the team with nine points.
Those who tuned out may have missed the highlight reel play of the night. Late in the second half, freshman Noah Schutte drove baseline and thundered home a right-hand dunk that incited the bench to go wild. Schutte (eight points and five rebounds) and the reserves supplied 63 combined points. Also off the bench, Nick Cito notched nine points (2-for-2 from 3-point range) and four assists.
This was fun and all, but Limback knows GPAC play is looming early next week. There are certainly some areas of the game that could use improvement.
Said Limback, “Our interior defense and also our rebounding (could use improvement). Today we weren’t hitting consistently so we have to clean up our rebounding. I feel like the shots will come. Right now I feel like our issue is limiting teams to one shot and finishing out defensive possessions.”
In this instance, Concordia did have a large edge in rebounding (55-29), though Emmaus grabbed 10 offensive boards. The Bulldogs made up for it by forcing 23 Eagles turnovers (plus-11 turnover margin).
In Saturday action at the Cattle Classic, Concordia will host Manhattan Christian College (Kan.) at 4 p.m. CT. The Thunder have started 0-4 while up against a challenging slate of NAIA opponents.
FRIEDRICH ARENA: The arena inside the Walz Human Performance Complex has a new name. It became official this week. From now on, it will be called Friedrich Arena in honor of Brian and Laurie Friedrich, who served the University and Bulldog Athletics for nearly 30 years. Concordia hopes to recognize and celebrate Brian and Laurie with an in-person dedication at a future date to be determined.