SEWARD, Neb. – Walz Arena has become a hornet’s nest for visitors. Two days after sinking 16 treys in a blowout win over Haskell Indian Nations University, the Concordia University men’s basketball team shot a startling 62.5 percent from the floor and 90.3 percent from the free throw line while wiping out 10th-ranked Dakota Wesleyan, 95-79, in Seward on Saturday afternoon.
Fourth-year head coach Ben Limback’s program is now 6-0 at home this season and owns a nine-game home winning streak dating back to last season. The Bulldogs are 7-4 overall and 2-3 in conference play. Concordia also possesses a home victory over then 17th-ranked York College.
"I thought defensively our guys did a great job," Limback said. "They're a high scoring team. They average close to 100 points per game. That's really what I'm most proud of is our defensive effort."
The Tigers (8-3, 4-1 GPAC) held a lead (65-64) as late as the 8:15 mark. The Bulldogs have experienced their share of close defeats in spots such as this, but not this time. There were many contributors in the 19-3 Concordia run that staked Chandler Folkerts and company to an 83-68 advantage with under 4:30 remaining. The spurt was bookended by triples from Chris Johnstone and Eli Ziegler. From that point on, the Bulldogs maintained a lead of 10 or more points.
A strong offensive team in its own right, Dakota Wesleyan shot 50.0 percent (29-for-58) from the floor and got a game high 26 points from Jason Spicer in addition to 19 points by star guard Trae Vandenberg. It just wasn’t enough to keep with Concordia’s balanced attack.
Seth Curran led the way for the Bulldogs with a career high 20 points (8-for-10 free throw shooting) and 11 assists. Three other starters reached double figures in scoring: Johnstone (19), Folkerts (16) and Ziegler (16). Justin Damme also chipped in 10 points off the bench. Folkerts (5-for-6 from the field; 6-for-6 from the free throw line) came up just a single rebound shy of recording a double-double.
This victory was a significant one for Concordia. Dakota Wesleyan entered the contest unbeaten in conference play and already possesses three wins over ranked opponents. The Bulldogs had not defeated a team ranked in the top 10 since upsetting No. 3 Northwood University (now Keiser University) on Dec. 29, 2014.
Concordia’s offense is clicking. It showed no trouble digging out of a 9-0 hole that it faced to begin Saturday’s game. The Bulldogs came into the weekend with national rankings of fourth in 3-point field goal percentage (.433) and sixth in field goal percentage (.518).
On this particular night, Curran served as ringleader.
"I thought the player of the game tonight was Seth Curran," Limback said. "Defensively he did a great job on their point guard. Twenty points and 11 assists - the kid was amazing. It was a gutsy effort on his part."
The Bulldogs will get another shot at a ranked opponent on Wednesday when they head to Sioux City, Iowa, for a GPAC clash with 23rd-ranked Morningside (8-3, 2-2 GPAC). Tipoff from the Rosen Verdoorn Sports Center is slated for 8 p.m. CT. On Saturday, the Mustangs stepped outside of the conference and knocked off College of the Ozarks (Mo.), 103-86.