SEWARD, Neb. – Barring unforeseen happenings in the GPAC tournament, the Concordia University men’s basketball team’s four seniors will play at Walz Arena for the final time this Saturday in the regular-season finale. Prior to the weekend, the Bulldogs will trek west on I-80 for an 8 p.m. CT tipoff at Hastings (14-14, 8-8 GPAC) on Wednesday. Dordt (13-15, 4-12 GPAC) will serve as Saturday’s opponent for a contest slated for 4 p.m.
Both of this week’s contests will be carried live on 104.9 Max Country radio (play-by-play by Tyler Cavalli). Wednesday’s game can be seen via the Hastings Stretch Internet portal. The Concordia Sports Network will stream Saturday’s tilt.
Riding its high-powered offense, Concordia has won seven of eight games. The most meaningful victory during that stretch was Sunday’s 109-106 overtime upset at No. 7 Dakota Wesleyan. In an all-timer of a performance, senior Chandler Folkerts totaled a career high 37 points to go along with 14 rebounds and two blocked shots. As a team, the Bulldogs shot 57.7 percent from the floor in another masterful offensive performance.
Efficiency on the offensive end has made Concordia capable of competing with anyone in the nation. Among all NAIA Division II teams, the Bulldogs rank No. 1 in field goal percentage (.526), second in 3-point field goal percentage (.415) and seventh in free throw percentage (.769). Individually, Folkerts checks in at No. 2 in the nation in field goal percentage (.683) and freshman Tanner Shuck ranks 26th in NAIA Division II in 3-point percentage (.457).
The collegiate career is winding down for Folkerts, who will go down as one of the greatest players in program history. With 1,928 career points, Folkerts still has a shot to reach 2,000 and to become the third leading scorer in school history. He also sports all-time school ranks of second in rebounds (843) and fourth in blocked shots (138). Fellow senior Eli Ziegler is also on the rise, ranking 21st all-time in scoring (1,155). He needs four more to pass head coach Ben Limback on the list.
Folkerts, Ziegler and the senior class that also includes Seth Curran and Justin Damme have helped the Bulldogs to three-straight winning seasons, raising the profile of a program that had gone 6-22 in 2012-13. The 19 wins by this year’s squad are the most for the program since the 2008-09 team went 20-12 in 2008-09.
Hastings has experienced an up-and-down season. It surprised then No. 11 Midland by an 88-72 score on Feb. 1 before a loss at Morningside and a narrow win at Mount Marty as part of last week’s action. Guard Rich Williams tops the team with a scoring average of 15.5. Meanwhile, Dordt comes into the week having lost five of six games – four against ranked opponents. Concordia is looking for season sweeps of both opponents.
Concordia: 19-9, 8-8 GPAC (T-6th)
G – Seth Curran: 8.0 ppg, 4.0 apg, 3.5 rpg, 1.0 spg, .438 fg%
G – Eli Ziegler: 16.9 ppg, 3.8 apg, 2.9 rpg, .490 fg%, .448 3-pt fg%
G – Chris Johnstone: 10.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.0 apg, .467 fg%, .378 3-pt fg%
F – Tanner Shuck: 9.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.1 apg, .481 fg%, .457 3-pt fg%
C – Chandler Folkerts: 19.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.4 bpg, 1.0 spg, .683 fg%
Hastings: 14-14, 8-8 GPAC (T-6th)
G – Trey Moore: 15.0 ppg, 5.9 apg, 3.9 rpg, .401 fg%, .366 3-pt fg%
G – Rich Williams: 15.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.1 spg, .486 fg%, .455 3-pt fg%
G – Jake Hansen: 14.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.1 spg, .505 fg%, .414 3-pt fg%
F – Bart Hiscock: 11.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.2 spg, .485 fg%, .365 3-pt fg%
C – Kevin Harkins: 6.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg, .561 fg%
Dordt: 13-15, 4-12 GPAC (8th)
G – Andrew O’Donnell: 9.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 3.3 apg, .465 fg%, .343 3-pt fg%
G – Alec Henrickson: 16.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.5 apg, .408 fg%, .418 3-pt fg%
G – Alex Terpstra: 9.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg, .402 fg%, .378 3-pt fg%
G – Marcus Winterfeld: 11.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg, .504 fg%, .439 3-pt fg%
F – Taylor Feenstra: 8.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, .517 fg%