Star seniors power Concordia past No. 17 York

By Jacob Knabel on Nov. 12, 2016 in Men's Basketball

SEWARD, Neb. – In a matchup of high-powered offenses, 17th-ranked York College failed to keep up with the Concordia University men’s basketball team. Seniors Seth Curran, Chandler Folkerts and Eli Ziegler combined for 63 points to fuel a runaway, 91-77, victory over the visiting Panthers inside Walz Arena on Saturday afternoon.

Fourth-year head coach Ben Limback’s squad again has the makings of a team capable of being efficient inside and out on the offensive end. The Bulldogs shot 55.3 percent (26-for-47) from the field while disposing of York.

“We talked about not letting them get loose in transition. That was such a big key,” Limback said. “This is a great basketball team. They’re very athletic and well-coached. I really felt like our guys came out and competed and did a lot of the little things we needed to do to win.”

Folkerts continues to do more than just the little things. His massive early-season production continued on Saturday as he went 7-for-7 from the floor and 10-for-11 from the free throw line on his way to 25 points and eight rebounds. Ziegler was just as effective, going for 24 points while making 5-of-9 shots from long range. He also dished out five assists.

With Concordia filling it up offensively, the Bulldogs built a lead as large as 20 points in the second half. They exerted total control over a Panther squad that brought back star Cameron Coleman from a team that reached the national quarterfinals this past March. Coleman poured in 18 points on the day, but York never whittled its deficit to fewer than 10 points over the game’s final 20 minutes.

Limback could not have asked for a better response to Wednesday’s 89-87 loss at Northwestern in the GPAC opener.

“I think this is the first step,” Curran said. “Now we know we can knock off some of the top-rated teams. Rankings don’t mean much to us. When we play together as a team, we think we can beat anybody. We’re a really good basketball team, and we know it.”

Saturday’s game got away from York over the final five-and-a-half minutes of the opening half. Leading by two (31-29), Concordia went on a 7-0 run that started with a Folkerts bucket in the paint. The advantage ballooned to 10 when Ziegler canned a trey with 3:08 left in the half. Then Tanner Shuck surfaced with a back-breaker of a triple in the half’s closing seconds to put the Bulldogs up a dozen.

The momentum spilled over into the second half. Folkerts’ trey at the 16:53 mark made it a 17-point margin and York (3-1) never made a serious threat the rest of the way. The Panthers fell despite shooting 47.7 percent (31-for-65) and despite 21 points from Jonny Cooksey.

Still getting accustomed to his role as a starter, Curran delivered 14 points and five assists. Off the bench, Shuck chipped in five points – two coming on a dunk – and four assists.

“Our guys really competed. There was a lot of fight in the ‘Dogs today,” Limback said.

The Bulldogs will play a nationally-ranked opponent for the second-straight game when they tipoff at No. 21 Midland (5-0) on Wednesday. The action from Fremont, Neb., is slated to get started at 8 p.m. CT. The GPAC rivals split their two meetings last season with the home team winning in each instance. The Warriors took part in this year’s 17th annual Cattle Classic.