SEWARD, Neb. – Before celebrating the Christmas holiday, the Concordia University men’s basketball team will make a trip to Sioux Center, Iowa, on Friday. On the heels of back-to-back losses to nationally-ranked teams last week, the Bulldogs hope to return to the win column at Dordt. Friday’s contest is set to tip off at 7 p.m. CT from De Witt Gymnasium.
Though fourth-year head coach Ben Limback’s squad came up empty last week, it still has yet to slow down offensively. The Bulldogs have shot at least 47 percent from the field in 12-straight outings. In the overtime loss to sixth-ranked Northwestern, both Eli Ziegler (28) and Tanner Shuck (24) posted career high scoring totals. Among GPAC players, Shuck ranks first in 3-point field goal percentage (.526) and Ziegler ranks fifth (.474) in that same category.
Scoring has rarely been an issue this season for Concordia, which boasts national rankings of second in 3-point field goal percentage (.435), fourth in field goal percentage (.523), 12th in 3-point field goals per game (10.5) and 14th in free throw percentage (.760). Only one team has managed to limit Ziegler under 10 points all season. Last week he went off for 50 total points and 12 treys over the two outings.
Shuck and Ziegler are the brightest outside shooting compliments to the 6-foot-8 Chandler Folkerts in the paint. Folkerts continues to move up the program’s all-time lists. In Concordia history, he now ranks fourth in blocks (121), fifth in points (1,642) and sixth in rebounds (715). He needs 18 points to pass Director of Athletics Devin Smith (1,659) for fourth on the scoring list. Folkerts is averaging 18.9 points.
The Bulldogs came up just short of an upset of Northwestern last week while playing without starting guard Chris Johnstone, whose status for Friday’s game is uncertain due to an ankle injury. Freshman Jake Hornick made his first career start in place of Johnstone.
Friday’s matchup features one team (Concordia) seeking its first true road win versus another (Dordt) aiming for its first GPAC victory. The Defenders are headlined by standout junior Dalton Franken, who averages 19.0 points per game. Dordt has played recently without the services of sophomore guard Alec Henrickson (13.5 ppg) and junior forward Taylor Feenstra (7.7 ppg). While the record isn’t pretty, Dordt has hung tough with the likes of Dakota Wesleyan, Midland and Northwestern – all ranked teams.
A sizeable gap in the schedule follows after the Dordt game. Up next: Concordia will fly to Miami, Fla., for games with Florida Memorial University (Dec. 29) and St. Thomas University (Dec. 30).
Concordia: 7-6, 2-5 GPAC
G – Seth Curran: 8.8 ppg, 3.8 apg, 3.9 rpg, .464 fg%
G – Eli Ziegler: 17.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg, .526 fg%, .474 3-pt fg%
G – Jake Hornick: 5.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg, .429 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%
Dordt: 6-9, 0-6 GPAC
G – Marcus Winterfeld: 8.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg, .506 fg%, .439 3-pt fg%
G – Chandler Brunsting: 2.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg, .474 fg%
G – Chad Barkema: 4.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, .500 fg%
F – Leighton Sampson: 11.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg, .537 fg%, .490 ft%
F – Dalton Franken: 19.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.0 spg, .471 fg%, .315 3-pt fg%