SEWARD, Neb. – Concordia jumped out to an early lead over No. 18 Culver-Stockton College (Mo.), but the Wildcats cruised the rest of the way. Visiting Culver-Stockton earned a 102-82 victory to close day one of the 14th annual Cattle Classic at Walz Arena. The Bulldogs dropped to 0-3 with all three losses coming to ranked opponents.
“I thought in the second half we definitely moved the ball better and got it inside better,” Concordia head coach Ben Limback said. “That was something that we saw that we needed to get the ball in on them. We shot 48 percent in the second half so our attentiveness to get the ball inside was much better.
“We just couldn’t get stop their transition or force them to get anything other than layups. We have to get better defensively.”
Winner of 26 games last season, Culver-Stockton got strong performances from a host of different players. Leading returning scorer James Johnson poured in a game high 20 points. Johnson was joined by four other Wildcats in double figures in scoring: CJ Adams (19), Mario Gulley (14), Jonathan Miller (12) and Johnnie Mills (10).
Sophomore Robby Thomas teamed with freshman Chandler Folkerts to give head coach Ben Limback solid play on the interior. Thomas fell just short of a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds while Folkerts, a Milford native, went for 13 points and four rebounds.
Culver-Stockton (3-0) went on a 19-3 run after digging a six-point hole to start the game. The Wildcats never looked back. They led 56-39 at the break and grew the advantage to as large as 28 points in the second half. The Wildcats outshot the Bulldogs 47.3 percent to 44.3 on the night.
Wegener, Concordia’s breakout star of the first two games, left Saturday’s contest early in the second half after falling hard to the floor on his knee. He did not return to the lineup, finishing the night with nine points and five rebounds.
Day two of the Cattle Classic will bring another ranked opponent for the Bulldogs as they square off with No. 13 Oklahoma Wesleyan University. The Eagles defeated Jamestown 89-85 on Friday afternoon inside Walz Arena. Saturday’s game will end a stretch of four-straight contests for Concordia against top 25 teams.
“Our focus remains the same,” Limback said. “We’ve got to continue to get better on defense. Oklahoma Wesleyan has great size that can score from three. They’re guards are tremendous. They’re tough and they can score in a variety of ways. We have to understand that it’s a team effort in order to stop them.
“I told our guys, you don’t get to play four ranked teams to start the year very often. We have to understand that we have compete right away.”