SEWARD, Neb. – After a nail-biting 77-74 win over Northwestern, the Concordia men’s basketball team looks to extend its five-game win streak and stay unbeaten in conference play when the Bulldogs welcome Dordt to Friedrich Arena for a 4 p.m. matchup Saturday.
Dordt (5-0, 1-0) at Concordia (5-1, 2-0)
Saturday, Nov. 21 | 4 p.m.
Friedrich Arena | Seward, Neb.
Jan. 4, 2020; Concordia (W) 91-79
Feb. 8, 2020; Dordt (W) – 86-76
*NAIA rank in parenthesis (out of 144 teams)
Scoring offense: 87.6 (40th)
Scoring defense: 66.0 (20th)
FG% offense: 47.0% (56th)
FG% defense: 40% (30th)
3-pt FG% offense: 34.6% (76th)
3-pt FG% defense: 33.3% (72nd)
Rebound Margin: +7 (46th)
Turnover Margin: + 6.67 (12th)
Scoring offense: 85.6 (49th)
Scoring defense: 70.8 (35th)
FG% offense: 52.0% (20th)
FG% defense: 42.4% (64th)
3-pt FG% offense: 35.6% (64th)
3-pt FG% defense: 32.5% (64th)
Rebound Margin: +2.8 (67th)
Turnover Margin: +1.2 (60th)
The Defenders of Dordt are currently undefeated on the year with a record of 5-0. In the 2020-2021 NAIA Preseason Poll, Dordt checked in just outside of the Top-25, receiving four votes. The Defenders are coming off an 83-72 win over Midland on Nov. 14. Dordt is the only undefeated team left in the GPAC conference.
In the ratings
The GPAC Preseason Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Poll was unveiled on Oct. 14. Concordia landed at No. 6 (57 points), while Dordt was placed third in the league (77 points). In the current Massey Ratings, the Bulldogs appear at 39th while the Defenders check in at 11th.
GPAC preseason: 6th
Current Massey Ratings: 39th
GPAC preseason: 3rd
Current Massey Ratings: 11th
Last time out
During Saturday’s victory over Northwestern, the Bulldogs were able to hold onto their lead and close out the Raiders in the final seconds. Northwestern had a chance to tie it on the final possession, but all hope evaporated when Justin Wiersema swatted away Trent Hilbrands three-point attempt at the buzzer. Concordia shot an efficient 45.7 percent (29-for 61) from the field while holding Northwestern to 44.3 percent (31-70). The Bulldogs were able to jump out to a quick lead by starting 7-for-13 from 3-point range and finished 12-for-33 from behind the arch. Four of the five Bulldog starters finished with double figures in scoring: Sam Scarpelli (15), Wiersema (14), Carter Kent (11) and Gage Smith (10). Smith also added 18 rebounds to garner his fourth double-double of the season.
Winning seasons have become the norm for the Concordia Bulldogs during the Ben Limback era. Under Limback, the Bulldogs have finished with winning records in five of their past seven seasons. Concordia is coming off of its most successful season in 15 years after going 24-10 and winning the GPAC tournament to earn an NAIA National Tournament bid.
Chairman of the boards
Junior Forward Gage Smith has been looking like Dennis Rodman this season when it comes to his ability to rebound. Smith has double-digit rebounding marks in five games this year. His single-game high this season came back on Nov. 7 when he pulled down 19 rebounds in a 90-65 rout of Manhattan Christian. Smith ranks third nationally in total rebounds with 74 and 10th in rebounds per game with an average of 12.33 per contest.
Letting it fly
If you are a fan of an up-tempo offense, then this Concordia squad is for you. The Bulldogs run and gun style of play has yielded many offensive opportunities as the Bulldogs average 69 field goal attempts and 87.8 points per game. The Bulldogs have attempted more shots than opponents in four of their six games this season. Overall, Concordia has 413 field goal attempts this season while limiting opponents to just 380.
The Concordia offense production is a team effort as four of the five Bulldog starters are averaging double figures: Wiersema (16.3), Kent (13.5), Scarpelli (10.7) and Smith (10.0). Klay Uher (8.2), Cory Davila (7.5), Ryan Holt (7.0) and A.J. Watson (5.2) also play contributing roles in the scoring efforts. Among starters, Wiersema (.617) and Uher (.600) are the most efficient scorers from the field.
Series vs. Dordt
The Concordia-Dordt series has been very competitive as of late. Concordia holds a 7-3 advantage over Dordt dating back to the 2015-2016 season. However, the Bulldogs have split the season series with the defenders in the last two seasons.
Offense has been a strength for the Defenders on the young season. Dordt is averaging 85.6 points per game while shooting an impressive 52.0 percent from the field. Like Concordia, the Dordt scoring effort is very balanced as four of the five Defender starters are averaging double figures: Jacob Vis (16.2), Garrett Franken (14.0), Jesse Jansma (14.2) and Cade Bleeker (10.6). Jansma is the biggest threat from downtown for Dordt as he is shooting 41.7 percent (10-for-24) from behind the arch. The Bulldogs will also want to keep an eye on reserve Bryce Coppock who is shooting 45 percent (9-for-20) from three-point range. Defensively the Defenders are allowing 70.8 points per game on 42.1 percent shooting.
Following Saturday’s game against Dordt, the Bulldogs will be back in action on Nov. 30 when they travel to Crete, Neb., to face rival Doane. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
Concordia (5-1, 2-0 GPAC)
G – Sam Scarpelli, Sr., 5-9 (10.7)
G – Carter Kent, Jr., 6-2 (13.5)
G – Justin Wiersema, Jr., 6-3 (16.3)
F – Gage Smith, Jr., 6-6 (10.0)
F – Klay Uher, Jr., 6-8 (8.2)
Dordt (5-0, 1-0 GPAC)
G – Jesse Jansma, Sr., 6-4 (14.2)
G – Ben Gesink, Sr., 6-3 (5.6)
F – Jacob Vis Fr., 6-7 (16.2)
F – Cade Bleeker, So., 6-5 (10.6)
F – Garrett Franken, Sr., 6-7 (14.0)