Two-week layoff to conclude in Windy City

By Jacob Knabel on Dec. 27, 2017 in Men's Basketball

SEWARD, Neb. – It’s time for the Concordia University men’s basketball team to knock off the rust. The Bulldogs returned to practice the day after Christmas and on Friday, they will end a layoff of two weeks without a game. In a Windy City excursion, fifth-year head coach Ben Limback’s squad will play at Robert Morris University on Friday and then at Judson University on Saturday.

This week’s schedule
Friday, Dec. 29 at Robert Morris (5-8), 3 p.m. CT
Saturday, Dec. 30 at Judson (5-9), 5 p.m. CT

Robert Morris will provide live audio coverage of Friday’s game HERE. Saturday’s contest at Judson can viewed online HERE. Robert Morris is located in Chicago while Judson calls nearby Elgin its home.

The last time the Bulldogs (9-3, 4-2 GPAC) were in action, they fell in a 111-103 shootout at No. 11 Northwestern on Dec. 15. That defeat snapped a four-game winning streak for Concordia, which sits just one game out of first place in the league standings. Even with the loss, the team’s 9-3 record equals the best 12-game start for the program since the 2010-11 campaign. The solid start has been made possible by improved defensive effort (44.0 percent shooting by opponents) and an impressive offensive display from 3-point range (ranked sixth nationally in 3-point field goal makes per game).

Limback’s bunch has been led all season by one of the nation’s most productive sophomore classes. Sophomores Jake Hornick (16.6 ppg), Clay Reimers (16.5 ppg) and Tanner Shuck (14.8 ppg) are in a close battle for the team scoring lead. The Bulldogs own the GPAC’s assist leader in Hornick (5.42) and rebound leader in Reimers (9.2). Among conference teams, Concordia ranks third in field goal percentage defense (.440), fourth in scoring defense (76.9) and fifth in scoring offense (84.2). It has been the nation’s 17th most efficient 3-point shooting team (.404).

Robert Morris (5-8) has been a perennial NAIA powerhouse having reached the national semifinals seven times between 2002 and 2014. Othyus Jeffers is in his first season as head coach after replacing Al Bruehl, who spent 20 years guiding the program to many of its best seasons ever. This year’s squad has struggled to gain continuity, using 11 different players to fill its starting lineups. Chicago native Chelby Frazier paces the Eagles with an average of 15.4 points per game.

Like Robert Morris, Judson (5-9) is a member of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference. The Eagles own a win over a familiar foe having toppled Concordia-Ann Arbor, 66-59, back on Nov. 11. Second-year head coach Brian Thrift’s squad recently put an end to a six-game losing streak with back-to-back wins over Saint Xavier University and IU South Bend, two conference opponents. Junior guard Taylor Boley (16.3 ppg) has morphed into a reliable scoring option at Judson.

Conference play will return on Jan. 3 when the Bulldogs play at Doane (7-8, 3-4 GPAC). The next home game is scheduled for Jan. 6.

Concordia (9-3)
G – Jake Hornick: 16.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 5.4 apg, 1.0 spg, .532 fg%, .436 3-pt fg%, .862 ft%
G – Cordell Gillingham: 6.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.1 apg, .449 fg%, .324 3-pt fg%
G – Tanner Shuck: 14.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.8 apg, .488 fg%, .427 3-pt fg%, .759 ft%
F – Kyle Pierce: 11.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.4 apg, .473 fg%, .455 3-pt fg%, .739 ft%
F – Clay Reimers: 16.5 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 2.7 apg, .585 fg%, .667 ft%

Robert Morris (5-8)
G – Jerome Dixon: 10.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.3 spg, .389 fg%, .292 3-pt fg%
G – Chelby Frazier: 15.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.7 spg, .453 fg%, .725 ft%
G – Ryan Mathew: 6.3 ppg, 2.8 apg, 1.8 rpg, .385 fg%, .308 3-pt fg%
G – Jarvae Tate: 11.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.4 spg, 1.2 apg, .610 fg%, .500 ft%
F – Marquel Murphy: 6.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 0.8 spg, .384 fg%, .217 3-pt fg%

Judson (5-9)
G – Taylor Boley: 16.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.4 spg, .444 fg%, .400 3-pt fg%, .900 ft%
G – Jordan Johnson: 8.9 ppg, 3.1 apg, 2.8 rpg, 0.9 spg, .417 fg%, .811 ft%
G – Brayden Royse: 10.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.8 apg, .438 fg%, .450 3-pt fg%, .882 ft%
F – Teesean Patterson: 8.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.9 apg, 0.9 spg, .338 fg%, .563 ft%
C – Joshua Friesen: 3.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg, .385 fg%, .833 ft%