Season set to tip off at Hastings Classic

By Jacob Knabel on Oct. 28, 2020 in Men's Basketball

SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University Men’s Basketball program is gearing up to make its first public appearance since playing at the 2020 NAIA Division II national tournament way back in March. As part of the Hastings College Classic, the Bulldogs will draw two opponents out of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference as action opens up this Friday and Saturday. Lynn Farrell Arena on the Hastings campus will serve as the venue.

Hastings released fan information for their athletic facilities earlier this fall. For those planning to attend the games at Hastings, please enter the arena through the main entrance (north side). Per GPAC rules, fans must wear face coverings in order to be admitted.

Hastings Classic – Oct. 30-31

Friday, Oct. 30 vs. Tabor College (0-0), 5 p.m.
--Live Webcast/Stats

Saturday, Oct. 31 vs. Friends University (0-1), 2 p.m.
--Live Webcast/Stats

Head Coach Ben Limback enters his eighth season leading his alma mater. Concordia broke through last season with a thrilling GPAC tournament championship run while clinching the program’s first national tournament berth in 15 years. The Bulldogs wound up at 24-10 overall for the program’s second highest win total during the GPAC era. Concordia returns two starters from the 2019-20 squad: junior guards Carter Kent and Justin Wiersema. On the other hand, the Bulldogs graduated three starters in guards Tanner Shuck and Brevin Sloup and top post player Chuol Biel.

In the GPAC preseason poll, Concordia landed at No. 6 despite all that was accomplished last season. The Bulldogs will be a tough matchup for a lot of opponents with a backcourt featuring aforementioned rising stars in Kent and Wiersema. Both players averaged in double figures as sophomores while contributing to a team single-season school record 382 made 3-point field goals. Without Shuck and Sloup, senior Sam Scarpelli will also step into a more prominent role. This weekend will provide the Bulldogs a chance to answer questions about a frontcourt including returners such as Ryan Holt and Gage Smith.

Concordia also opened up the 2019-20 season at the Hastings Classic, where it claimed victories over Dakota State University (S.D.) and Friends as part of a 5-0 start. In the program’s most recent meeting with Tabor, the Bluejays clipped the Bulldogs, 82-77, at the Warrior Classic in Sterling, Kan., on Nov. 11, 2017. Friends finished last season at 17-13 overall (15-9 KCAC) while Tabor went 6-21 (4-20 KCAC). In the KCAC preseason coaches’ poll, Friends checked in at seventh (out of 13 teams) and Tabor appeared at No. 12.

The KCAC also releases a preseason all-conference team. The top individual returner Concordia will go up against this weekend, according to the KCAC preseason squad, is senior guard Davonte Pack of Friends. Pack averaged 13.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game last season. Back in mid-March, the Bulldogs had their season ended by a KCAC team in Ottawa University (Kan.), which is ranked 14th in the NAIA preseason coaches’ poll. The NAIA has moved to one division this season.

This Friday begins a busy stretch to open up the 2020-21 season. Concordia will play at Peru State College next Wednesday (Nov. 4) before hosting the 21st annual Cattle Classic the weekend of Nov. 6-7. The opponents at the Cattle Classic will be Emmaus Bible College (Iowa) and Manhattan Christian College (Kan.). For more details on the event, click HERE.