Shuck, freshmen star in thumping at Hastings

By Jacob Knabel on Feb. 16, 2017 in Men's Basketball

HASTINGS, Neb. – Both the present and the future look bright for the Concordia University men’s basketball team. Tanner Shuck paced a budding freshman class, Chandler Folkerts recorded another double-double and the Bulldogs pulverized host Hastings, 90-69, inside Lynn Farrell Arena on Wednesday night.

Fourth-year head coach Ben Limback’s offensively potent outfit moved to 20-9 overall and to 9-8 in conference play. This marks the program’s first 20-win season since the 2008-09 campaign.

“Defensively I thought we really played hard,” Limback said. “Our guys were ready and executed the game plan very well. That’s really what we hung our hats on. Even though we scored 90, a lot of it was defense. Defensively we did a good job on them.”

Concordia got it done with more than just offense on this evening. It shot 60.9 percent from the floor while also holding the Broncos (14-15, 8-9 GPAC) to 39.7 percent shooting in a contest it essentially dominated from start to finish. Shuck (21 points) burned Hastings by draining 5-of-6 shots from the perimeter. Fellow rookies Jake Hornick (13 points, seven rebounds) and Clay Reimers (eight points, seven rebounds) also showed up big.

The shots were falling for Shuck, who was playing near his hometown of Grand Island. Shuck is one of the most prolific 3-point shooters in the nation.

“We’re really getting after it on the defensive end,” Shuck said. “That’s really what changed. We struggled a little bit, but then we started a streak. We started playing defense and figured it out. Right now we’re just playing with a lot of confidence. It’s a lot of fun right now.”

Reimers has been one of the ringleaders behind Concordia’s late season run. The Lincoln East High School product isn’t shy about rattling the rim. He threw down two dunks while continuing his run of beastly play in the paint. One of those throwdowns came after his own steal. Reimers and Folkerts are a handful in the post. Folkerts (10 points, 11 rebounds) made 5-of-6 shots from the floor and helped Concordia own the boards, 35-24.

The Bulldogs left Hastings in the dust with a 25-8 second half run that turned a nine-point lead into a rout. Just about everyone got into the act for Concordia, which placed four starters into double figures. Seth Curran dropped in 14 points on the strength of 11-for-14 foul shooting. Backcourt mate Eli Ziegler knocked in 10 points, pushing him past Limback for 20th on the program’s all-time scoring list.

Hastings got very little production outside of Trey Moore (24 points) and Rich Williams (20 points). The rest of the team was a combined 9-for-32 from the field.

That won’t cut it against a Bulldog team lighting it up on the offensive end.

“I thought we shared it well. We made those extra passes,” Limback said. “Jake Hornick gave us some really good minutes on both ends. Clay had a good second half. It’s a good balance right now. Guys are stepping up in a lot of areas. It’s fun to see down the stretch.”

Concordia’s only loss over the last three weeks was a barn burner at No. 18 Briar Cliff this past weekend. The streaking Bulldogs sit in sixth place in the league standings. They can still tie for fifth place, but will be the No. 6 seed at the GPAC tournament that begins next week.

The Bulldogs will wrap up the regular season on Saturday when they welcome Dordt (14-15, 5-12 GPAC) to Seward for a 4 p.m. CT tipoff inside Walz Arena. Folkerts and the class of seniors will be honored as part of Senior Day festivities. The seniors have helped the program improve its record each of the past four seasons.