2019-20 Men's Basketball Schedule/Results

24-10 overall | 12-8 GPAC (T-4th) | Season Stats | Roster

Date Opponent Location Time/Result Record
  Hastings College Classic: Oct. 25-26      
Oct. 25 Dakota State University (S.D.) Hastings, Neb. W, 93-60 1-0
Oct. 26 Friends University (Kan.) Hastings, Neb. W, 74-69 2-0
  20th annual Cattle Classic: Nov. 1-2      
Nov. 1 Dickinson State University (N.D.) Seward, Neb. W, 90-62 3-0
Nov. 2 (9) Benedictine College (Kan.) Seward, Neb. W, 66-65 4-0
Nov. 12 *Midland University Seward, Neb. W, 95-71 5-0, 1-0
Nov. 16 *Briar Cliff University Seward, Neb. L, 69-70 5-1, 1-1
Nov. 19 Wayne State College (Exhibition) Wayne, Neb. L, 70-92  
Nov. 23 Nebraska Christian College Omaha, Neb. W, 70-58 6-1
Dec. 4 *Doane University Seward, Neb. W, 83-77 (2OT) 7-1, 2-1
Dec. 7 *(6) Dakota Wesleyan University Seward, Neb. L, 57-77 7-2, 2-2
Dec. 11 *(1) Morningside College Sioux City, Iowa L, 71-72 7-3, 2-3
Dec. 14 *(23) Mount Marty College Yankton, S.D. L, 70-97 7-4, 2-4
  Malika Sports Classic: Dec. 21-22      
Dec. 21 MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan.) Honolulu, Hawaii L, 60-65 7-5
Dec. 22 Menlo College (Calif.) Honolulu, Hawaii W, 59-57 8-5
Dec. 28 Peru State College Seward, Neb. W, 109-60 9-5
Jan. 2 *(19) Northwestern College Orange City, Iowa W, 88-65 10-5, 3-4
Jan. 4 *Dordt University Seward, Neb. W, 91-79 11-5, 4-4
Jan. 8 *Hastings College Hastings, Neb. W, 83-62 12-5, 5-4
Jan. 11 *University of Jamestown Seward, Neb. W, 86-74 13-5, 6-4
Jan. 18 *Briar Cliff University Sioux City, Iowa W, 83-72 14-5, 7-4
Jan. 22 *(1) Morningside College Seward, Neb. L, 72-85 14-6, 7-5
  69th annual CIT: Jan. 24-25      
Jan. 24 Concordia University, Ann Arbor River Forest, Ill. W, 79-57 15-6
Jan. 25 Concordia University, Wisconsin River Forest, Ill. W, 92-55 16-6
Jan. 29 *Northwestern College Seward, Neb. W, 86-82 17-6, 8-5
Feb. 1 *(10) Dakota Wesleyan University Mitchell, S.D. L, 50-71 17-7, 8-6
Feb. 5 *Doane University Crete, Neb. L, 59-64 17-8, 8-7
Feb. 8 *Dordt University Sioux Center, Iowa L, 76-86 17-9, 8-8
Feb. 12 *Hastings College Seward, Neb. W, 83-77 18-9, 9-8
Feb. 15 *(18) Mount Marty College Seward, Neb. W, 98-74 19-9, 10-8
Feb. 19 *Midland University Fremont, Neb. W, 89-83 20-9, 11-8
Feb. 22 *University of Jamestown Jamestown, N.D. W, 101-92 (OT) 21-9, 12-8
  GPAC Tournament      
Feb. 26 Northwestern College (Quarterfinals) Seward, Neb. W, 74-63 22-9
Feb. 29 Hastings College (Semifinals) Seward, Neb. W, 71-61 23-9
March 3 (11) Dakota Wesleyan University (Championship) Mitchell, S.D. W, 68-66 24-9
  NAIA Division II National Championship      
March 12 (5) Ottawa University (Kan.) Sioux Falls, S.D. L, 84-87 24-10

2019-20 Roster

No. Varsity Roster Pos. Ht. Year Hometown Previous School
2 Sam Scarpelli G 5-9 Jr. Portland, Ore. Reynolds HS / Clark College
3 Brevin Sloup G 5-9 Sr. Seward, Neb. Seward HS
4 Nick Cito G 5-10 So. Arvada, Colo. Mullen HS
5 Carter Kent G 6-2 So. Crete, Neb. Crete HS
10 Justin Wiersema G 6-3 So. Loveland, Colo. Thompson Valley HS
11 Jacob Jennings G 6-1 Sr. Shawnee, Kan. De Soto HS
12 Jackson Hirschfeld G 5-11 Fr. Utica, Neb. Centennial HS
12 Grant Wragge G 6-2 Jr. Crofton, Neb. Crofton HS
14 AJ Watson G 5-8 Fr. Bonner Springs, Kan. Bonner Springs HS
20 Tanner Wubbels F 6-7 So. Waverly, Neb. Waverly HS
21 Tanner Shuck G/F 6-4 Sr. Grand Island, Neb. Grand Island HS
30 Chuol Biel F 6-8 Sr. Grand Island, Neb. McCook CC
32 Ryan Holt F 6-5 Jr. Highlands Ranch, Colo. ThunderRidge HS
41 Gage Smith G/F 6-5 So. Elizabeth, Colo. Elizabeth HS
44 Klay Uher F 6-5 So. Crete, Neb. Crete HS
50 Thomas Young G 6-1 Jr. Clarks, Neb. High Plains HS
55 Samuel Adjei F 6-7 Sr. Accra, Ghana Redemption Christian / Miramar CC
No. Junior Varsity Roster Pos. Ht. Year Hometown Previous School
2 Nate Middleton G 5-9 So. San Marcos, Calif. Mount Carmel HS
3 Cristiaan Priebe G/F 6-5 Jr. Lake Tapps, Wash. Central Washington
4 Jacob Glines G 6-1 Fr. Lincoln, Neb. Lincoln Lutheran HS
5 Cade Reichardt G 6-0 Fr. Aurora, Neb. Aurora HS
11 Elijah Lovin G 6-2 Fr. Minden, Neb. Minden HS
14 Jackson Hirschfeld G 5-11 Fr. Utica, Neb. Centennial HS
20 Ian Guettler G 5-11 So. Tomball, Texas Tomball HS
21 Chance Sterling F 6-5 So. Gretna, Neb. Gretna HS
30 Kelly Vyhnalek F 6-7 Fr. Seward, Neb. Seward HS
32 Jayson Frank F 6-7 Fr. Sterling, Colo. Sterling HS
41 Jacob Gosnell F 6-6 Fr. Hershey, Neb. Hershey HS
44 Christian Wilke F 6-6 So. Lincoln, Neb. Lincoln East HS


Ben Limback, Head Coach (7th Year)

Lance Korell, Assistant Coach

Brendon Boomsma, Graduate Assistant Coach

Kyler Hensel, Manager

Haden Richters, Manager

Brandon Timoney, Manager

Anthony Wolter, Manager

Valiant effort ends in defeat just before NAIA halts postseason

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – An eerie emptiness has settled upon basketball arenas across the country. That same hollowness fell upon the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Thursday (March 12). A limited number of fans were allowed into the venue as the Concordia University men’s basketball team made its first national tournament appearance since 2005. The Bulldogs led nearly the entire game before falling in the first round, 87-84, while up against fifth-ranked Ottawa University (Kan.).

Just after the game finished, the NAIA announced that the remainder of its winter national championships had been canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Win or lose, head coach Ben Limback’s squad would have been heading home. Concordia (24-10) gave it everything it had in its final time out in 2019-20.

“You have to look at the big picture,” Limback said. “Hopefully they really celebrate that. Today is tough because it’s their last game. What those seniors have done from last year to this year is incredible. We had our chances today and battled against a good team. I’m proud of these guys. I hope they celebrate what a blessing this year has been.”

The Bulldogs essentially appeared to be the equal of the Braves (28-6), champions of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season. Seventh-seeded Concordia put together a serious upset bid while building a second half lead as large as 12 points over second-seeded Ottawa. The ringleaders for the Bulldogs were two seniors who played their final collegiate games – Chuol Biel and Tanner Shuck, who combined for 37 points.

The Braves took their first lead of the entire game with 15.2 seconds left when Ryan Haskins drilled a trey in the corner. Concordia did not have a response. It turned the ball over on the ensuing possession on a play that involved contact to Justin Wiersema. KCAC Player of the Year Darryl Bowie then put up the game’s final two points from the free throw line.

Ottawa was able to overcome the dominance of Biel inside. Known more for his prowess as a defender, Biel made 9-of-10 shots from the floor and totaled a career high 19 points. Shuck also continued his hot shooting. He went 4-for-5 from 3-point range and racked up 18 points. Wiersema (16) and Carter Kent (12) also reached double figures.

Ultimately, the Bulldogs could not get enough stops. The Braves shot 71.4 percent (20-for-28) from the floor in the second half and 63.6 percent for the game. Jaquan Daniels was nearly unstoppable. He slashed his way to 27 points on 12-for-13 shooting. Bowie actually comes off the bench, but he still logs starter’s minutes. He posted 19 points in addition to the key steal in the closing seconds.

Three seniors had been part of the Concordia starting lineup all year – Biel, Shuck and Brevin Sloup. All three were instrumental in steering the Bulldogs to a tournament title and seven-straight wins entering Thursday’s game. They steadied the program through rocky times and were productive in the process. Shuck accumulated 1,574 career points and Sloup totaled 1,246 (including eight on Thursday).

Concordia played in the last ever NAIA Division II men’s basketball game. The NAIA will combine the two divisions as play moves forward in 2020-21. No one seemed to know exactly how to react after the NAIA made the decision to cancel the remainder of the tournament. Following play on Thursday, coaches, players and fans milled about trying to make sense of what is going on in the world.

Said Limback, “It was hard (to focus on basketball). You have to make sure you always wash your hands and you can’t shower in certain places and all these things. The importance of the game took over once it got started. These guys made the national tournament I hope that’s what they celebrate. I feel awful for these other teams that couldn’t finish their seasons.”

At last, Bulldogs taste GPAC championship glory

MITCHELL, S.D. – A focused and determined Concordia University men’s basketball team found euphoria on Tuesday (March 3) night, almost exactly 15 years to the date since the program had achieved such heights. The GPAC tournament championship trophy is making a return to Seward. The Bulldogs built a 17-point lead in the first half and held on to defeat 11th-ranked Dakota Wesleyan, 68-66, at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, S.D.

Forget about being on the bubble. Head coach Ben Limback’s squad has earned an automatic bid to the NAIA Division II national tournament. For now, Concordia (24-9) deserves to bask in this moment.

“Incredible atmosphere, incredible game,” Limback said. “It was two hard-nosed teams going at it. We were hot from three in that first half and were able to build a cushion – and we needed it. I thought we did a great job defensively. Tanner (Shuck) hit some big shots. This place was literally shaking when Brevin (Sloup) was shooting free throws at the end of the game and he calmly hits both of them … this was an amazing night none of us will ever forget.”

The path to a GPAC tournament championship included postseason wins over Northwestern (quarterfinals) and Hastings (semifinals) at home. It set up a title matchup with a Dakota Wesleyan squad that had handed the Bulldogs two ugly losses during the regular season. Limback sensed his team was loose. He was right. Concordia went 7-for-14 from beyond the arc in the opening half.

It just wasn’t going to be that easy in a hostile environment against a team with a megastar senior in Ty Hoglund. He even had a shot to win it at the buzzer when the Bulldogs turned it over. Thankfully, the half-court heave hit the back iron and rimmed out. Hogluand finished with 27 points, but he was just 8-for-25 from the floor.

On the road, Concordia showed the toughness not to waver when things got hairy. At the 6:44 mark of the second half, the Bulldogs saw their lead cut to just one point (53-52). Shuck followed with two cold-blooded treys to spur a crucial 8-0 run. Sloup then scored Concordia’s final seven points, including two on free throws in the closing seconds. The Bulldogs have made their return to glory.

Said Limback, “My phone has been blowing up. There’s a lot of pride in this program. I’ve heard from alums, teammates and from Coach (Grant) Schmidt too. The ’05 team has been texting. Any time this happens it’s fun to share it with the parents, the families and our alums.”

This was an evening for the starters to empty the tank. Shuck put on an impressive display in going 5-for-8 from 3-point range while racking up a team high 17 points. Three other starters reached double figures: Sloup (14), Carter Kent (13) and Justin Wiersema (12). Chuol Biel also made his presence felt defensively in blocking a pair of shots while also grabbing six rebounds.

Dakota Wesleyan (23-9) reached the GPAC final for the first time since 2010. The Tigers are a pretty safe bet for an at-large national tournament selection considering their lofty national ranking in the most recent poll. At least on this night, Dakota Wesleyan got outplayed on its home court. It shot 37.7 percent from the field compared to 44.8 percent shooting by Concordia. Incredibly, the Bulldogs’ three opponents in the GPAC tournament went a combined 9-for-57 from 3-point range.

Concordia seemed to relish the underdog role on the road. Said Limback, “The first two games (in the GPAC tournament) we were a little nervous. We hadn’t been in that situation of being the favored team at home. Coming into this game I could feel how loose we were. We have amazing leadership in the locker room. We’re thrilled to still be playing.”

The national tournament bracket will be released on Wednesday (March 4) by the NAIA. The Bulldogs will make their first nationals appearance since 2005 and 10th all-time for the program.

Dawgs paddle into GPAC title game for first time since 2005

SEWARD, Neb. – A senior class led by Tanner Shuck and Brevin Sloup will play on. The Concordia University men’s basketball program is on its way to the GPAC postseason championship game for the first time since 2005. In a semifinal matchup with bracket buster and eighth-seeded Hastings, Shuck helped lead the way to a 71-61 victory inside Walz Arena in a rough-and-tumble rivalry battle on Saturday (Feb. 29).

Head coach Ben Limback’s squad also defeated Northwestern at home in the quarterfinals. The Bulldogs (23-9) hope they have moved a step closer to earning a national tournament bid.

“Defensively they did a great job and really pressured us,” Limback said. “They were physical and bothered us, but our guys were gutsy and they played through a lot of that contact. To be able to get into the bonus and make those big plays there at the end was huge.”

After upsetting top-seeded Morningside in the quarters, the Broncos (16-16) may have felt like they were due to knock off Concordia. But Shuck and the fourth-seeded Bulldogs still have Hastings’ number. The series win streak moved to nine in what was a decidedly bruising encounter. The big difference came at the 3-point arc where Concordia went 13-for-34 and the Broncos went just 3-for-17.

Hastings managed to take a 48-46 lead midway through the second half before the Bulldogs responded with a pivotal 8-0 run capped by a trey apiece from Shuck and Sam Scarpelli. For the second time in four days, Carter Kent supplied a 3-point dagger – this one making it a 61-51 Concordia lead in the final few minutes. In the closing 30 seconds, Sloup went 6-for-6 from the foul line to salt it away.

“One of the goals we look for at the start of the year is to try to win the GPAC championship,” Shuck said. “We’re not quite there yet. We have one more game. We’re going to enjoy this tonight and then tomorrow we’ll be getting ready to go to the Corn Palace.”

Limback would have liked to have used Shuck for more than 22 minutes on Saturday, but foul trouble relegated him to the bench for a large chunk of the second half. On a day when both teams struggled to shoot better than 40 percent from the field, Shuck’s 5-for-6 marksmanship from long range came in handy. Shuck finished with a team high 17 points. He was followed in the scoring column by Sloup (13) and Carter Kent (11 points, six assists and six rebounds).

On the other side, senior Bart Hiscock was tough to handle as usual. He notched 22 points and 10 rebounds. However, Concordia’s perimeter defense was up to the task. Hastings point guard Mason Hiemstra (16 points) went 5-for-19 from the floor with two of his makes coming on layups when the contest had already been decided late in the game.

Off the bench for the Bulldogs, Ryan Holt chipped in with eight points and seven rebounds. Gage Smith added five points and eight rebounds. Meanwhile Justin Wiersema just missed double figures while putting up eight points, five rebounds and three steals.

In order to guarantee a spot in the national tournament, Concordia will have to win at 11th-ranked Dakota Wesleyan (23-8), the GPAC’s No. 2 seed. The GPAC championship game will take place in Mitchell, S.D., at 7 p.m. CT on Tuesday (March 3).

Said Limback, “These guys worked really hard to get here. To be in the championship will be a fun time.”

The 2004-05 Bulldogs won the GPAC tournament title game at home over the University of Sioux Falls. The current Concordia team’s 23 wins are the most since that ’04-05 campaign. Now it’s back to the Palace. Said Shuck, “My freshman year we got a big win in overtime there and the place was rocking. I love playing in places like that. It’s going to be fun.”

Bulldogs end postseason drought, move to GPAC semifinals

SEWARD, Neb. – There was a lot riding on the outcome of Wednesday (Feb. 26) night’s GPAC quarterfinal matchup, but the Concordia University men’s basketball team played cool under pressure while hosting in the postseason for the first time since 2011. Budding sophomore Justin Wiersema helped spark another second half rally as the Bulldogs turned away Northwestern, 74-63, inside Walz Arena. Concordia allowed the visitors a grand total of two 3-point field goals on the evening.

Of course head coach Ben Limback’s squad wants to keep this thing going as long as possible, but it had to have this one – or the season likely would have been over. The Bulldogs will advance to the GPAC semifinals with an overall record of 22-9.

“This team just keeps fighting and it was a gutsy performance again,” Limback said. “I’m really proud of our defense. We struggled a little offensively. They did a great job of protecting the paint. I feel like there were so many big moments in the last six or seven minutes. I thought the grittiest player tonight was Chuol Biel. We didn’t even know if he would play. He had a huge, huge defensive game. So did Justin Wiersema.”

Biel’s presence seemed to provide a boost for a Concordia team that had mostly been winning shootouts during the four-game win streak it carried into the evening. One of the most prolific perimeter shooting teams in the nation, the Red Raiders (20-11) went 2-for-17 from long range and got to the free throw line for only seven attempts. Craig Sterk (24 points on 11-for-20 shooting) tried to keep Northwestern afloat.

It just couldn’t stop a second-half surge that has been a theme for the Bulldogs. Wiersema led the charge with 22 points and aided in digging Concordia out from a 45-33 deficit with less than 16 minutes to play. The rest of the way, the Bulldogs outscored the Red Raiders, 41-18, in a very one-sided closing stretch.

“We never lose hope,” Wiersema said. “Even if we’re down by 20 we’ll still keep playing hard. We made some key defensive stops and really got the ball moving and knocked down some threes. The next thing you know we’re tied. Then we’re rolling.”

That roll featured help from some of the usual suspects – Brevin Sloup (16), Carter Kent (15) and Tanner Shuck (14) all reached double figures in scoring along with Wiersema. A late 12-2 run turned a 58-55 lead into a 70-57 advantage. Kent capped it with a dagger of a corner trey and Shuck added four points during the game-winning push.

Biel came off the bench to grab nine rebounds and a pair of steals. His work down low is a key factor in cleaning up the paint. Concordia also did a number on Northwestern leading scorer Trent Hilbrands, who went 3-for-14 from the floor. As a team, the Red Raiders shot 41.2 percent (28-for-68) and went especially cold in crunch time.

“Justin and Tanner did a great job on their leading scorer,” Limback said. “We had to get it going from the 3-point line because we couldn’t do much inside – and defending that three was huge tonight. Again, just a gutsy performance.”

The Bulldogs received votes in the NAIA Division II poll released early in the day and are squarely on the bubble when it comes to the national tournament picture. For now, Concordia can enjoy the program’s first postseason victory since 2009.

Thanks to eighth-seeded Hastings’ upset of top-seeded Morningside, the Bulldogs will have the luxury of being at home on Saturday for the GPAC semifinals. The Broncos (16-15) will be on hand for a 4 p.m. CT tipoff. Concordia won both regular-season meetings with Hastings. Said Wiersema, “We definitely know what’s at stake … one game at a time. Win after win. That’s all we need to do.”

Comeback Dawgs win memorable regular-season finale

JAMESTOWN, N.D. – This one won’t soon be forgotten. With a home game in the opening round of the GPAC tournament on the line, the Concordia University men’s basketball team erased an 18-point second-half deficit and dominated the overtime session on Saturday (Feb. 22) afternoon. The Bulldogs spoiled Jamestown’s home finale in what amounted to a 101-92 victory for the visitors.

Head coach Ben Limback’s squad concludes the regular season at 21-9 overall (12-8 GPAC). For the seniors, this meant a lot. Concordia has earned at least one more opportunity to play at Walz Arena.

“It was just extreme joy,” Limback said of the postgame locker room. “Our guys were overwhelmed with excitement. To see our guys enjoy it like that after they’ve worked so hard is so rewarding. They’ve overcome so much. You could see it with the parents who traveled – everybody was so thrilled. This game was truly one we’ll never forget.”

The way this game turned on its head makes it especially memorable. There were points when it looked like it just wasn’t Concordia’s day. In his final game at home, Jimmie senior Terrell Alfred went off for 28 points while netting eight treys. Another senior in Isaiah Dobson added 24 points and seven assists. When Jack Frazier nailed a trey with 16:01 left in the game, Jamestown (18-12, 9-11 GPAC) led 58-40. It seemed the Jimmie seniors were about to head out on a high.

Not so fast. The Bulldogs followed with a 10-0 run that made Jamestown begin to have doubts. With Concordia’s offense clicking to the tune of 57.6 percent shooting in the second half, the final minutes became a pulse pounder. Big shot maker Brevin Sloup piled up the points and was aided by a host of teammates in putting the Bulldogs up 90-87 in the closing seconds of regulation. Alfred had one more trick up his sleeve with a trey that forced overtime.

That was a last gasp for Jamestown. Concordia ended OT on an 11-0 run that was initiated by five-straight points from Sloup. The Mayor just wanted to play at home again. He equaled Alfred with 28 points and added eight rebounds. Ryan Holt supplied a nice punctuation on the victory with a steal and layup in the final minute of overtime.

“It starts with the mindset,” Limback said of the comeback. “We had a mentality that showed how much we wanted it. They were really good on senior day and shot very well. We were able to weather the storm. I thought Justin Wiersema was great again with how he constantly competes. We had a number of guys make big plays off the bench. Brevin and Tanner (Shuck) made huge plays. It was fun to be a part of.”

The Bulldogs finally took their first lead of the second half when Shuck buried a 3-pointer with under two minutes left in regulation. Shuck also made two crucial free throws that moved the lead to three with less than 20 seconds remaining. The senior from Grand Island, Neb., notched 16 points and moved past 1,500 for his career.

Wiersema contributed 19 points, five rebounds and four assists. In reserve roles, Sam Scarpelli chipped in 11 points and Tanner Wubbels recorded 10. Holt grabbed 11 rebounds and swiped four steals. Concordia was plus-five in rebounds and made more free throws than Jamestown attempted (29-19).

The win allowed the Bulldogs to seal up the No. 4 seed in the conference tournament, which means the program will host a GPAC postseason game for the first time since 2011. Fifth-seeded Northwestern (20-10, 12-8 GPAC) will be in Seward for an 8 p.m. CT tipoff on Wednesday (Feb. 26) for the quarterfinal round.

Bulldogs withstand 3-point barrage, hold off Midland

FREMONT, Neb. – What a difference three months makes. The meeting between the Concordia University men’s basketball team and Midland that took place in Fremont, Neb., on Wednesday (Feb. 19) looked nothing like the matchup that occurred way back on Nov. 12. In the latest renewal of the rivalry, both teams shook off rough offensive starts and went hog wild in the second half. Ultimately, the Bulldogs did just enough to pull out the road win, 89-83.

At this point in the season, head coach Ben Limback’s squad isn’t looking for style points. The victory keeps hopes alive of earning a GPAC tournament quarterfinal home game and moved the Bulldogs (20-9, 11-8 GPAC) to 20 wins on the season.

“On the road it was a gutsy performance,” Limback said. “Give Midland a lot of credit. In that second half they really torched us. We couldn’t stop them. They started making threes all over. I thought we ran out of gas a little bit and gave up some second-chance points, but I’m so proud of our guys to gut this one out. It wasn’t pretty, but you’ve got to do it anyway you can.”

After senior Brevin Sloup drilled a 3-pointer that made it a 31-17 lead late in the first half, Concordia looked like it might just waltz to victory at the Wikert Event Center. The young Warriors had other ideas. They poured in 10 second-half triples. Their final trey of the night put the Bulldogs in a 79-73 hole with less than four minutes to play.

That’s when the tough got going. Sloup, who had 17 of his game high 22 points in the second half, ignited a 12-0 run with a three-ball. Tanner Shuck, Carter Kent and Justin Wiersema also contributed offensively to the game-defining surge. It couldn’t have happened without tightening the screws defensively. Midland did not make a shot from the field after the 3:44 mark.

Both teams put up exactly 58 points in the second half. Bowen Sandquist (22 points), Laurence Merritt (19 points) and Samuel Mailloux (15 points) did most of the damage for Midland, which had to have a win to keep alive any hope of a GPAC tournament berth. Instead, the Warriors were swept this season by Concordia.

The Bulldogs played without Chuol Biel on Wednesday. Sophomore Gage Smith got the start and produced eight points and 11 rebounds. Fellow sophomore Klay Uher also factored large into the outcome. He notched 14 points and six rebounds while going a perfect 5-for-5 from the field.

“He had some nice pick-and-rolls and some nice finishes at the rim,” Limback said. “He was really good on defense as well. Tanner Shuck was big too. He had a lot of great moments when we needed them. I’m just proud of our guys on this one.”

Limback also lauded the work of Sloup and Wiersema. Sloup added five assists and five rebounds to his stat line. A budding performer in the backcourt, Wiersema tallied 16 points and blocked a pair of shots. The reliable Shuck registered a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Concordia shot 51.7 percent from the floor. It’s biggest detriment was a minus-eight turnover margin. Midland (9-17, 5-14 GPAC) managed to turn it over only four times.

The long road to North Dakota awaits. The Bulldogs will be at Jamestown (18-10, 9-9 GPAC) on Saturday for a 4 p.m. CT tipoff. In this season’s first matchup, Concordia rode a 26-point outing from Tanner Shuck to an 86-74 home win over the Jimmies. In order for the Bulldogs to earn another home game, they must win at Jamestown and have Northwestern (12-7 GPAC) fall at home to No. 2 Morningside.

Sloup and the Dawgs return the favor on senior day

SEWARD, Neb. – The roles were completely reversed as compared to the matchup that took place two months earlier in Yankton, S.D. While celebrating six seniors, the Concordia University men’s basketball team avenged its most lopsided loss of the season by routing visiting and 18th-ranked Mount Marty, 98-74, on Saturday (Feb. 15) afternoon. In perhaps his final appearance inside Walz Arena, Brevin Sloup put home a game high 29 points.

Head coach Ben Limback’s squad had to have this one in order to keep hopes alive of earning a top-four seed in the GPAC tournament. Currently, the Bulldogs (19-9, 10-8 GPAC) are tied for fifth place in the league standings.

“I felt like there was a great competitiveness to our guys and you expect that on senior day and with the GPAC standings and all the things we’re playing for,” Limback said. “I thought our defensive execution, especially in the first half, was huge. We keyed in on the right guys. I felt like our guys were mentally locked in.”

The hustle and energy plays went the way of the Bulldogs all afternoon. They demolished the Lancers on the boards, 51-23, and figured out a way to contain the dynamic Chris King. The senior guard started the game 1-for-10 from the floor while being guarded mostly by Carter Kent. By the time King got going, his team faced a mountain to climb. Concordia led by 13 or more points for the entire second half.

As proven throughout this season, the Bulldogs can play on the level of just about anyone when things are going right – and when the shots are falling. Concordia made 33-of-61 (.541) attempts from the field while five players scored in double figures, including Justin Wiersema (19), Kent (16), Tanner Shuck (14) and Gage Smith (10). Just when Mount Marty (19-9, 10-8 GPAC) threatened to make it a game in the second half, the seniors shut the door.

Sloup initiated a 14-3 run with seven-straight points (four free throws and a trey) that turned a 13-point lead into an 86-62 advantage with under five minutes to play. If this has to be the final home game for The Mayor, it was quite a way to go out.

“All I can say is the four years have gone by really, really fast,” Sloup said. “I just think back to my freshman year with Eli (Ziegler), Chandler (Folkerts) and Seth (Curran) – all those guys on senior night. I was just like, ‘This is long time away for me.’ It really snuck up on me fast. I’m really happy for the team and how we came out and played. It was a special night for sure.”

Mount Marty was limited to 42.4 percent shooting and it did not get too many second chances (only four offensive rebounds). Also a senior, Chuol Biel brought down 11 rebounds and Smith grabbed eight off the bench. King equaled a team high of 15 points, but he went 4-for-16 from the floor in a sharp contrast to the game he had versus Concordia in Yankton (eight treys).

“I’m so proud of our seniors,” Limback said. “Brevin obviously with 29 points was amazing. So was Tanner Shuck. It’s just fun to go out this way in the regular season at home. Hopefully we have another home game.”

The senior day ceremony occurred just before tipoff. Now nearing 1,500 career points, Shuck added a second half jam for good measure. Another senior in Sammy Adjei saw action off the bench.

The regular season will conclude next week with a pair of road trips. Next up, the Bulldogs will be at Midland (9-16, 5-13 GPAC) for an 8 p.m. CT tipoff in Fremont. Concordia took the first meeting that unfolded on Nov. 12 in Seward by a final score of 95-71. Kent posted 28 points in that matchup.

Bulldogs continue mastery of Broncos

SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University men’s basketball program continues to have Hastings’ number. It wasn’t easy, but the Bulldogs have snapped a three-game skid while knocking down 14 treys in an 83-77 home victory over the Broncos on Wednesday (Feb. 12). Concordia won despite another strong outing from Hastings standout Bart Hiscock (22 points and 10 rebounds).

The win keeps hope alive of a potential top-four finish and a home game in the GPAC quarterfinals. At the very least, head coach Ben Limback’s squad has guaranteed a spot in the eight-team conference tournament and is now 18-9 overall and 9-8 within league play.

“I felt like they outplayed us in the first half, especially on the glass,” Limback said. “We got up about 10 and they came back with some hustle plays. We really challenged our guys at half to play harder. They shot over 50 percent in the first half. I think we did a much better job pressuring them and contesting things in the second half.”

This one essentially went wire-to-wire. Two offensive rebounds down the stretch made a difference in the outcome. Both plays led to 3-point field goals – one by Brevin Sloup and another by Carter Kent. Suddenly, a tie ballgame turned into a 79-73 Bulldog lead in the final minute. Four Sloup free throws in the closing 15 seconds put the game away and gave Concordia its eighth-straight series win over the Broncos (13-14, 6-11 GPAC).

Walz Arena seemed to be the right tonic for the Bulldogs, who had lost three-consecutive games on the road to begin the month of February. Sloup poured in a game high 25 points on the strength of 5-for-8 shooting from long range. All five starters reached double figures as Justin Wiersema (16), Chuol Biel (12), Tanner Shuck (10) and Kent (10) supplied additional firepower.

“It definitely starts at practice,” Wiersema said of his team’s ability to put the previous three games behind it. “We come to every practice ready to go and we play hard. I think it really translates into games.”

The offensive role for Wiersema continues to take off. He’s now notched at least 15 points in four of the past six games. Biel also deserves plenty of praise for his work. He grabbed 12 rebounds and swatted three shots in a double-double outing. Off the bench, Gage Smith contributed seven points and five rebounds.

An improved defensive performance in the second half and the clutch play of Sloup pulled Concordia out of a recent slump. Meanwhile, Hastings has dropped four in a row. Four of the five Bronco starters reached double figures. Marcus Hiemstra put up 13 points and six rebounds to go along with another strong night from Hiscock.

Now, can Concordia build off of this and play with consistency down the stretch? “We have to continue to be sharp offensively and sustain runs better. I think Saturday is going to be fun for a lot of reasons. It’s senior day and a revenge game. We’re just trying to play hard and see how well we can finish.”

The regular-season home slate comes to an end on Saturday when the Bulldogs will host No. 18 Mount Marty (19-8, 10-7 GPAC) for a 4 p.m. CT tipoff in Seward. Concordia will try to avenge the 97-70 loss suffered in Yankton, S.D., on Dec. 14. Limback’s program will also use the day to honor six seniors. That ceremony will take place just prior to tipoff.

Smith nets five treys in defeat at Dordt

SIOUX CENTER, Iowa – The result may not have been what the Concordia University men’s basketball team had hoped for, but it’s play on the court was vastly improved from its previous two road outings. Despite making 13 treys, the Bulldogs endured an 86-76 loss at Dordt on Saturday (Feb. 8) afternoon. A major difference proved to be the 21-for-26 foul shooting by the Defenders.

Head coach Ben Limback’s squad went 0-for-3 in its string of three-straight road games. The picture within the GPAC standings remains murky, but Concordia (17-9, 8-8 GPAC) has dropped to seventh place for the moment.

“I thought we had a great mentality on the road against a very good team,” Limback said. “We played with much better competitiveness today. During the second half both teams were scoring back and forth and they went on a run. They hurt us off the bench. I told our guys that our intensity and our effort was there, we just didn’t rebound well enough or make enough plays. We know every game is big right now.”

After two-straight games of being held below 60 points, the Bulldogs managed to find some offensive production with four different players finding their way into double figures. It was a breakthrough for Gage Smith, who made each of his first five attempts from 3-point range on his way to 15 points. Concordia needed every bit of that help with the Defenders (19-8, 10-7 GPAC) shooting 47.5 percent from the floor and consistently getting to the free throw line.

Marcus Winterfield put together a monster day off the bench for Dordt. He went for 21 points and seven rebounds in 19 minutes of action. He helped put the game away in the final minute by going 4-for-4 on free throws after the Bulldogs had gotten within five points. Smith’s 3-pointer with 1:15 left marked the final points of the game for Concordia.

Ryan Holt also gave solid minutes off the bench. All 11 of his points came after halftime. Brevin Sloup and Tanner Shuck equaled Smith for a team high with 15 points apiece. Sloup added seven rebounds, four assists and two steals to his line. Chuol Biel grabbed eight boards to pace the Bulldogs, who were outrebounded, 37-31.

“We wanted to get that taste out of our mouth (from the previous two road games),” Limback said. “We go to half up one and sustained some of their early runs. Down the stretch it was a great fight. We missed some key shots and had some turnovers. We have to finish plays. Every game right now feels like a playoff game. We have to have that mindset.”

Exactly half of Dordt’s points were delivered by its bench. The Defenders are making a push of their own for a potential national tournament berth. They reside in fourth place, but are within shouting distance of second. Concordia won this season’s first meeting with Dordt, 91-79, in Seward.

The road swing ends on Wednesday when the Bulldogs return to Walz Arena to host Hastings (13-13, 6-10 GPAC) for an 8 p.m. CT tipoff. Concordia has had the Broncos’ number, winning each of the last seven meetings in the series. That streak includes this season’s 83-62 Bulldog victory that occurred on Jan. 8 in Hastings.

Offense slumps in loss at Doane

CRETE, Neb. – It’s been a five-day stretch to forget for the Concordia University men’s basketball team. The Bulldogs peppered the rims at the Haddix Center with 46 3-point tries on Wednesday (Feb. 5) night – but only 10 of them found the bottom of the net. Star Anthony Laravie and the pesky Doane zone were enough to lift the home team to victory, 64-59.

Head coach Ben Limback’s squad has been held below 60 points in back-to-back losses within the conference. The Bulldogs (17-8, 8-7 GPAC) had hoped to complete a regular-season sweep of the Tigers.

“We just didn’t shoot it with confidence,” Limback said. “Unfortunately we just couldn’t snap out of it in time. We made a nice little comeback. We missed some inside stuff too and had some chances. You have to give Doane a lot of credit. They outplayed us and we just weren’t good offensively.”

Concordia shot 34.3 percent (24-for-70) from the floor just a few days after turning in a sub-30 shooting percentage in a loss at No. 10 Dakota Wesleyan. The Bulldogs have run hot and cold this season along with their perimeter game. It had been mostly hot during a recent stretch of 10 wins out of 11 games. Concordia wasn’t able to slice and dice the Doane zone in an efficient manner. The Bulldogs also turned it over 11 times in the first half in the face of frequent full-court pressure.

On the plus side, sophomore guard Justin Wiersema gave an effort-packed 30 minutes of play. He recorded 17 points and a personal high 12 rebounds for his first career double-double. Meanwhile, seniors Tanner Shuck and Brevin Sloup supplied 12 points apiece. Concordia got only seven points from its bench.

Doane (7-18, 2-13 GPAC) led for the majority of the second half and enjoyed an advantage as large as seven points. The outcome hung in the balance up until the last few seconds. After the Tigers turned the ball over leading 62-59 with 7.2 seconds on the clock, the Bulldogs got one more chance. However, Shuck’s 3-point trey missed the mark and Tyler Sullivan made two free throws to put the game away.

Wiersema went 8-for-14 from the floor, meaning he was responsible for one-third of the team’s field goal makes. Said Limback, “He turns it on all the time. He doesn’t waiver. We just need other guys to feed off of it.”

A junior from Omaha, Laravie is the go-to guy in black and orange. He posted a game high 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds in his 38 minutes of action. Joe Burt added 14 points and Miguel Lopez contributed 10. Doane very nearly came away from Walz Arena with a win back on Dec. 4 when the Bulldogs escaped with an 83-77 double overtime triumph. Mathematically, the Tigers still have a shot at qualifying for the conference tournament, but they need a lot of wins and a lot of help down the stretch.

Another pivotal road game awaits on Saturday when the Bulldogs will be at Dordt (18-8, 9-7 GPAC) for a 4 p.m. CT tipoff in Sioux Center, Iowa. Both sides continued to receive votes in the national poll released on Wednesday. Concordia will go for a season sweep of the Defenders having defeated them, 91-79, in Seward on Jan. 4.

Hot shooting ends at Corn Palace

MITCHELL, S.D. – The Concordia University men’s basketball team made just 13 field goals all game in a rough outing at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, S.D., on Saturday (Feb. 1). While shorthanded, 10th-ranked Dakota Wesleyan still poses problems with its length and with the star power of Ty Hoglund. The work of the Tigers on the defensive end was the difference in a 71-50 road loss for the Bulldogs.

Head coach Ben Limback’s squad entered the weekend with a chance to pull even for second place in the GPAC standings if it could secure a win at Dakota Wesleyan. Instead, Concordia (17-7, 8-6 GPAC) began February with a dud.

“Dakota Wesleyan did a great job with their length. They’re long and tall,” Limback said. “They really bothered us on the looks we had from three. They were able to control the pace and slow it down. We just couldn’t get it going offensively. When you have 18 turnovers and shoot 28 percent, you when very few games. Give a lot of credit to Dakota Wesleyan.”

The Bulldogs likely felt fortunate to be trailing by just a four-point margin (41-37) just past the 15-minute mark of the second half. That’s when the wheels came off. Concordia endured a stretch of more than six minutes without making a basket. By that point, it was too late. The Tiger lead had ballooned to as many as 22 points. Despite playing essentially just six guys, Dakota Wesleyan (18-5, 10-4 GPAC) did not wear down.

This just didn’t look like the same Bulldog team that had won 10 of its previous 11 games. Brevin Sloup (3-for-5) and AJ Watson (3-for-6) did combine for some success from 3-point range, but there wasn’t much other offense to speak of. Sloup and Watson led the team with 11 points apiece. The only real advantage Concordia had was at the free throw line – where it went 15-for-21 compared to 8-for-9 shooting by the Tigers. Chol Biel contributed with 10 rebounds and a blocked shot.

Hoglund knocked in a game high 20 points in his 35 minutes of action. Four of the team’s five starters played 35 minutes or more. Koln Oppold notched 17 points and three steals. Dakota Wesleyan shot 47.3 percent from the field and 45.8 percent from 3-point range. This was a get-right game for the Tigers after they had dropped back-to-back home games.

The trick now for the Bulldogs is to not let one bad performance get them down. Said Limback, “We have to have that next play mentality. We need to have better spacing and shoot it with confidence. It’s a great time for a rivalry game. We’ll be ready. We’re going to grow and learn from this.”

The three-game road swing will continue on Wednesday when the Bulldogs will be at Doane (6-18, 1-13 GPAC) for an 8 p.m. CT tipoff inside the Haddix Center in Crete. This season’s first meeting between the two sides was decided in double overtime with Concordia pulling out an 83-77 home win on Dec. 4. The lone Tiger GPAC victory this season came over Briar Cliff.

Concordia holds off late Northwestern push

SEWARD, Neb. – At least for a while, this felt like a repeat of the drubbing the Concordia University men’s basketball team handed Northwestern in Orange City, Iowa, on Jan. 2. However, the Red Raiders did not go quietly while turning a 24-point deficit into a nail-biter. In the end, the Bulldogs breathed a sigh of relief, holding on for an 86-82 win. For the 10th game in a row, Concordia netted 10 or more 3-point field goals.

Head coach Ben Limback’s squad did its part in paying tribute to the 2004-05 squad (honored at halftime) by playing like that particular national runner up team for a majority of the night. The Bulldogs (17-6, 8-5 GPAC) have won 10 of their last 11 games.

“We survived. Give them a lot of credit,” Limback said. “We had a 24-point lead with 13 minutes to go and then I thought we played not to lose. We missed some shots against their zone. They got a little momentum and we couldn’t stop them after that. They fed off of it. They’re a gutsy team. You could see at the free throw line, we played not to lose instead of playing to win like we had the first 30 minutes or so.”

It would have been difficult to forecast the tense finish that ensued at the time when Concordia owned a 64-40 advantage with less than 12 minutes remaining. The Bulldogs stroked the three while outscoring Northwestern 21-7 out of the halftime break. Brevin Sloup capped that run with one of his five treys. Normally when a team makes 18 3-point field goals as Concordia did on Wednesday, it wins handily.

But the Red Raiders (15-8, 7-6 GPAC) nearly crept all the way back with a fine shooting display of their own. That seemingly commanding lead was whittled all the way down to two points when Jay Small made a pair of free throws in the final minute. Trent Hilbrands led the way for Northwestern with 15 points, though he needed 20 shots to get there. The Red Raiders went 14-for-33 from beyond the arc.

The Bulldogs likely could have avoided the last minute drama had they been more efficient than 9-for-18 from the free throw line. Thankfully for the home team, the flurry of 3-pointers helped make up for it. Concordia is a team that now finds ways to win.

“We were clicking offensively from three,” Limback said. “Tanner (Shuck), Brevin and Carter (Kent) – everybody got loose tonight. We have to be able to sustain that for 40 minutes. It gives us a lot to work on.”

Fresh off winning the CIT MVP award, Shuck topped all players with 23 points while going 5-for-8 from 3-point range. Four of the five starters reached double figures with Sloup adding 19 points (and eight assists), Kent 14 points and Justin Wiersema 13 points. Chuol Biel finished with five points, 11 rebounds and seven blocked shots as an enforcer in the paint. Northwestern went only 16-for-42 on shots inside the arc.

Concordia completed a regular-season sweep of the Red Raiders for the first time since 2016. The Bulldogs have lost only one game since Dec. 21 and have moved all the way up to third place in the GPAC standings (one game behind second-place Dakota Wesleyan).

The Bulldogs have a major road challenge ahead with a trip to Mitchell, S.D., up next. Concordia and No. 10 Dakota Wesleyan (17-5, 9-4 GPAC) will go head-to-head at 4 p.m. CT inside the Corn Palace. The Bulldogs hope to get a much better result than the 77-57 loss they suffered in the first meeting between the two sides.

CIT MVP Shuck leads the way in CIT blowout

RIVER FOREST, Ill. – The Concordia University, Nebraska men’s basketball team played like a group on a mission this weekend. After two-straight years of playing in the Concordia Invitational Tournament consolation game, the Bulldogs were not going to be denied at the 69th annual event, hosted by Concordia University, Chicago. Tournament MVP Tanner Shuck and company stunned Concordia University, Wisconsin, 92-55, on Saturday (Jan. 25).

Head coach Ben Limback has been the leader for six CIT titles in his career (including two at Concordia University, Ann Arbor). The Bulldogs have captured 28 CIT titles in the program’s history. It was time for the trophy to return to Seward.

“Every year it’s special, but to bring home the championship makes me so happy for the guys,” Limback said. “Just the way we played made me really proud. I was proud of us offensively and defensively. The guys fed off that and continued that throughout the whole game.”

CUNE had basically decided the game by halftime against a Falcons team that had steamrolled Concordia University, Chicago, 106-74, a day earlier. CUW found out what many Bulldog opponents have come to realize lately – it’s a real chore to defend a squad with so many capable 3-point shooters. The Bulldogs canned 15-of-34 shots from long range in an impressive shooting display.

Shuck is balling right now. He poured in a game high 18 points while scoring in a variety of ways. Carter Kent found plenty of space in the first half by drilling four treys on his way to 13 points. Sam Scarpelli also hit on three treys, including a halftime buzzer beater that made it 53-33 at the break. Named all-tournament, Scarpelli continues to provide an edginess to this team.

Off the bench, Ryan Holt brought the thunder. His one-handed slam in the face of contact brought the house down during the second half onslaught. Justin Wiersema also played a starring role by notching 15 points on 6-for-9 shooting from the floor. He also dished out four assists. Meanwhile, Biel played tough inside and put up seven points and 12 rebounds. His one blocked shot was a highlight reel denial.

The senior group of Shuck, Brevin Sloup (eight points on Saturday) and the crew would have found it unacceptable not to bring the oversized trophy back to Seward. Said Shuck, “The last two years have been really tough, losing in the first round especially. We knew right away this year, we set goals and this was one of them to win CIT. We stuck together and did what we had to do. We came out on top and it was a lot of fun.”

CUW employed the reigning CIT MVP in Jordan Johnson, who was held to 4-for-14 shooting. Not much went as planned for the Falcons (10-7), who went only 3-for-16 from 3-point range. CUW shot just 31.3 percent from the floor compared to 47.9 percent shooting by the Bulldogs.

“The guys were on a mission,” Limback said. “The leadership in the locker room is big. The guys were ready to play. We say stay hungry and this team wants to accomplish big things. They understand the process to it and they understand what comes with it. The team camaraderie makes it special.”

The Bulldogs will get back to conference play on Wednesday when Northwestern (15-7, 7-5 GPAC) makes a visit to Walz Arena for an 8 p.m. CT tipoff. When the two sides met in Orange City, Iowa, on Jan. 2, CUNE cruised to an 88-65 blowout over the Red Raiders. Northwestern was ranked 19th nationally at the time, but has since dropped out of the poll.

Bulldogs overwhelm Cardinals in first half, move to CIT title game

RIVER FOREST, Ill. – After two years of falling short of the Concordia Invitational Tournament title game, the Bulldogs weren’t going to allow that to happen in 2020. The Concordia University, Nebraska men’s basketball team clicked on both ends of the floor during a dominant first 20 minutes and rolled to a 79-57 victory inside Geiseman Gymnasium in River Forest, Ill. Six different Bulldogs curled in at least one trey.

Head coach Ben Limback is hoping to lead a team to a CIT championship for the sixth time (including two as leader of CUAA). CUNE has won eight of its last nine games to move to 15-6 overall.

“I think it starts with our leadership in the locker room,” Limback said. “With CIT no matter when you play it there’s an excitement. Our leadership in the locker room was important. It definitely showed in that first half when we came out very focused, had great energy and really fed off each other.”

It wasn’t just one guy on this particular afternoon. Sam Scarpelli brought the fire again by dropping in three treys and a game high 15 points. Off the bench, Klay Uher provided a nice spark with seven points on 3-for-4 shooting from the floor. Uher was one of seven Bulldogs to contribute seven points or more. Tanner Shuck also found his way into double figures with all 13 of his points coming in the first half. Chuol Biel added six points while hauling in a team best eight rebounds.

CUNE enjoyed its first double-digit lead of the game at the 13:18 mark of the first half when Scarpelli canned a triple. It only got worse for the Cardinals, who watched as Uher muscled in two points and sank the ensuing free throw for a 41-20 advantage. Just before the halftime buzzer, AJ Watson crushed CUAA’s spirit with a long 3-point bank shot. The game had essentially been decided at that point with the score sitting at 50-24.

Scarpelli has been pushing for additional minutes as he continues his surge. He also netted 21 points on Wednesday versus top-ranked Morningside. This was his first taste of CIT.

“It’s huge. It’s a big deal to us (to win CIT),” Scarpelli said. “It’s bragging rights between the Concordias. We put a lot of stress on winning, night-in and night-out. We want to come out and play hard and play for each other. It’s huge to try to win for each other.”

The Cardinals (6-15) shot only 34.5 percent from the floor. Their starting five went a combined 12-for-38 from the field. CUAA compounded its issues with 19 turnovers. Jerald Booker topped the squad with 12 points.

While the Bulldogs cooled off in the second half, they looked like a team on a mission. Two years in a row of consolation games did not sit well for a program that has had its way more often than not at CIT.

“That’s what we talk about – bring the trophy home,” Limback said. “That’s everybody’s mentality here. Right now our guys are locked into that goal. It was a preseason goal. These guys wanted to win CIT. The first half especially really showed that focus and desire.”

The Bulldog bench was an efficient 15-for-29 from the floor. Watson put home eight points and plucked three steals. Ryan Holt and Gage Smith snagged five boards apiece.

The quest for a 28th CIT in program history will continue on Saturday when the championship clash tips off at 7:45 p.m. CT from Concordia-Chicago. The Bulldogs are looking for their third CIT title in the past five years and their third in a row in River Forest.

Top-ranked team squelches win streak

SEWARD, Neb. – A white hot 8-for-10 start from the floor gave the Concordia University men’s basketball team an early double digit advantage over top-ranked Morningside on Wednesday (Jan. 22) night. It looked as if perhaps the Bulldogs just might claim that signature victory they had been seeking. Mustang star Tyler Borchers had other ideas. Morningside suffocated Concordia the rest of the way and left Walz Arena with an 85-72 win.

Head coach Ben Limback’s team will head to CIT at 14-6 overall (7-5 GPAC). The program’s longest win streak in 10 years has ended at seven.

“They’re a good team,” Limback said. “They were the better team tonight. They were way more disciplined. In the second half, defensively we weren’t very disciplined. They made us pay for it. Offensively, if we’re going to do that then we have to make some threes. It just wasn’t our night.”

The undefeated Mustangs (21-0, 13-0 GPAC) upstaged a couple of impressive individual spurts put together by the likes of Brevin Sloup and Sam Scarpelli. Sloup made his first four 3-point tries and piled up 18 points in the first 14 minutes of the game. At one point, the Bulldogs led 21-11. When most of the rest of the team went cold in the second half, Scarpelli heated to volcanic temperatures by pouring in all 21 of his points after the break.

Scarpelli went 5-for-8 from beyond the arc and collected two steals in a stellar 16 minutes of action. Scarpelli was responsible for six of the team’s 12 made baskets in the second half.

Said Limback, “He kept us in the game. He was the one that was shooting it with confidence. He gave us a great spark and we needed that to stay in the game and at least make it interesting. We have guys that are ready to play.”

A 28-9 Morningside run that began in the first half served as a soul crusher. The Mustangs maintained a double-digit lead for the entirety of the last 15 minutes. In the paint, Borchers is a challenging matchup for anyone. He recorded game highs of 23 points and 11 rebounds. As a team, the Mustangs owned a 44-33 rebound advantage. They put the game away by shooting 59.3 percent from the floor in the second half. Five Morningside players reached double figures in scoring, including Alex Borchers (14 points).

Off the bench, Ryan Holt added nine points and six rebounds and shook the rim with an authoritative dunk. Gage Smith led the team with eight rebounds despite foul troubles. Normally effective versus Morningside, Carter Kent went 2-for-10 from the floor and finished with six points.

Concordia had hoped to close the deal and slay the giant. It had come up just shy, 72-71, at Morningside on Dec. 11. The defeat marked the first for the Bulldogs in 2020. They had not lost since their stay in Honolulu, Hawaii, just before Christmas.

The 69th Concordia Invitational Tournament is next on the docket. This year’s event will take place in River Forest, Ill., and will feature the Bulldogs up against Concordia-Ann Arbor (6-14) at 3:15 p.m. CT on Friday. CUNE’s 27 CIT titles are the most in the history of the tournament, which got started in 1951 on the men’s side.

Sloup, Dawgs make it seven in a row

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The mid-week bye may have had something to do with a slow offensive start on Saturday (Jan. 18), but Brevin Sloup and the Concordia University men’s basketball team warmed back up to microwave oven levels by shooting 52.8 percent in the second half. A torrid final 20 minutes from Sloup spurred the Bulldogs to an 83-72 triumph over Briar Cliff inside the Newman Flanagan Center. The program had not won there since February 2009.

Head coach Ben Limback’s squad has extended its win streak to seven, making it the longest streak for the program since the 2009-10 season. Now receiving votes nationally, Concordia has moved to 14-5 overall and to 7-4 within league play.

“I like having the bye for getting healthy and getting some rest, but when you’re playing well it can also disrupt your rhythm,” Limback said. “We were stagnant in the first half and weren’t moving the ball real well. That second half it was fun to see us get going in a couple spurts there.

“Brevin was phenomenal in the second half. It was more than just scoring. He made a couple great extra passes to guys in the corners and his energy was just great. He was moving and getting to the paint. He was really good in the second half and I’m really proud of him.”

A three-point play in the final seconds by Sloup added the finishing touches and moved the Seward High School product past 1,000 career points. The 5-foot-9 guard could not be stopped. Sloup poured in 24 of his game high 28 points in the second half to allow his side to pull away from the Chargers (11-10, 2-9 GPAC). The Bulldogs came out of the break with a 9-2 run (for a 42-32 lead) and later used a 20-6 splurge to take a commanding 75-61 lead in the final five minutes.

Concordia had reason to feel like it had a score to settle after it fell to Briar Cliff on a buzzer beater back on Nov. 16. Since then, the two teams have trended in opposite directions. Even a 23-point effort from star Jackson Lamb wasn’t enough for the home team. The Chargers were held to 41.3 percent shooting from the field.

“Tanner Shuck and Brevin Sloup are two seniors that really came out and looked like they wanted this game more than anything,” Limback said. “You could really see it … Briar Cliff is a good team and well-coached. To get a win on the road here is huge.”

Shuck added 15 points, six rebounds and two steals as his run of stellar play continues. Six additional Bulldogs had at least five points. Carter Kent totaled eight points while Chuol Biel, Ryan Holt and Justin Wiersema each notched seven. Meanwhile, Gage Smith paced Concordia with seven rebounds. As a team, the Bulldogs enjoyed a 42-33 advantage on the boards. They shot 47.0 percent for the game.

Each of the past six Concordia wins have been decided by double-digit margins. During that run, the Bulldogs have also knocked down at least 10 3-point field goals all six times out. On Saturday, Sloup drained five 3-point shots. He also chipped in six rebounds and four assists in 33 minutes of action. Sloup is the 31st player in program history to reach 1,000 career points.

CIT week is coming up next for the Bulldogs. Before making the trek to the Chicago area, Concordia will host No. 1 Morningside (19-0, 11-0 GPAC) at 8 p.m. CT on Wednesday. The Mustangs narrowly avoided the upset back on Dec. 11 when they eked by the Bulldogs, 72-71, in Sioux City. The Bulldogs will attempt to snap an eight-game series losing streak versus Morningside.

Bulldogs 'Shuck' Jimmies, push win streak to six

SEWARD, Neb. – As stated by Bulldog radio broadcaster Tyler Cavalli, “hotter than fish grease” accurately describes the Concordia University men’s basketball team these days. The Bulldogs still haven’t lost in 2020 and are riding high once again following Saturday (Jan. 11)’s 86-74 home victory over Jamestown. Tanner Shuck spearheaded the latest victory with a season high 26 points.

Head coach Ben Limback’s squad has won six games in a row, including five-straight by double-digit margins. Concordia (13-5, 6-4 GPAC) has climbed all the way into a tie for fourth place in the current GPAC standings.

“We had great balance with T-Shuck, Brevin (Sloup) and Carter (Kent),” Limback said. “Justin (Wiersema) made some plays and obviously Sam (Scarpelli) too. This team is unselfish and it shows at the offensive end … even the shots we missed I thought we had some great looks from three.”

The Bulldogs may not have closed this one out as strong as they would have liked, but the 23-point second half lead they built up was too much for the Jimmies (12-7, 3-6 GPAC) to overcome. The bad news for opponents: Shuck is hot again. He nailed three treys and was effective in finishing at the rim. The Grand Island native also grabbed seven rebounds and swiped three steals. Shuck poured in 17 points in the second half alone.

Scarpelli put on a shooting display in the first 20 minutes, burning Jamestown with four long balls. He added another triple in the second half to bring his final total to 15 points. This offense is clicking. The Bulldogs shot 52.4 percent overall and went 11-for-27 (.407) from beyond the arc. Kent (17), Sloup (14) and Wiersema (10) also hit double figures. The team’s top five scorers combined for all but four of the 86 points.

“We have a sense of urgency every day in practice and especially in games,” Shuck said. “The first half of the season we kind of struggled to finish games. We really found out how to stay together, keep that intensity and finish out second halves better. We’ve made a lot of improvement. That’s a big part of our winning streak.”

On the defensive end, Concordia kept Jamestown’s starting five in check. That group combined for 39 points. However, the Jimmies got a big boost off the bench from Brady Birch, who notched a double-double with his 28 points and 10 rebounds. Jamestown owned a 40-32 advantage on the boards, but it was minus-four in turnover margin. The Jimmies were winners of the 2019 GPAC tournament.

Shuck’s return to form has been a huge factor for the Bulldogs. Over his last three games, Shuck has averaged 18.7 points and has gone 8-for-18 from 3-point range. Said Limback, “He was huge. He made some tough shots inside. The kid can play. He’s a really gritty player and a great captain and leader on this team.”

The active six-game win streak features four victories over GPAC opponents: No. 19 Northwestern, Dordt, Hastings and Jamestown. Concordia has improved to 7-2 at home this season.

The Bulldogs will now have a bye in the middle of this coming week before heading to Briar Cliff (11-8, 2-7 GPAC) next Saturday (Jan. 18) for a 4 p.m. CT tipoff in Sioux City, Iowa. Concordia will attempt to avenge a 70-69 home loss to the Chargers that came on a buzzer beating trey on Nov. 16.

Win streak rolls right through Hastings

HASTINGS, Neb. – The year 2020 continues to treat the Concordia University men’s basketball team quite well. The Bulldogs remain scorching as confidence soars. Not even the absence of a starter slowed Concordia down, which pummeled host Hastings, 83-62, inside Lynn Farrell Arena on Wednesday (Jan. 8) evening. The Bulldogs shot 49.3 percent from the floor.

If head coach Ben Limback’s squad is to prove it belongs as an upper echelon team in the GPAC, these are the types of games that need to be locked down. Concordia’s five-game win streak has put it at 12-5 overall (5-4 GPAC).

“I'm proud of our guys,” Limback said. “It was different styles tonight. They wanted to pound the ball inside and we wanted to stretch the floor and space them out. Tanner Shuck defensively did a great job on Bart (Hiscock). He’s a great player and I felt like Tanner made him work for everything he had. There were a couple times were it was kind of stagnant but overall, it was a great effort.”

The efficiency the Bulldogs have played with offensively has been something to behold. Carter Kent may be the reigning GPAC Player of the Week, but he certainly doesn’t have to do it alone. Kent (17 points) led a group of five double-figure scorers. By the 13:15 mark of the second half, Concordia had built a 20-point advantage when Brevin Sloup whirled in a trey. Ten long balls was enough to do the trick on this night.

With Chuol Biel out of the lineup, Ryan Holt filled in and provided 11 points on 5-for-7 shooting from the floor. Meanwhile, Sloup stuffed the stat sheet with 15 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Shuck put up 13 points and seven rebounds and Sam Scarpelli chipped in with 10 points off the bench. Sammy Adjei (seven points) and Gage Smith (six points, eight rebounds) also supplied productive minutes off the bench.

Hastings (9-10, 2-7 GPAC) had just snapped a six-game conference losing streak this past weekend by winning at Jamestown. The Broncos were taken out of their game by the Bulldogs. Hiscock was held to a modest, by his standards, 14 points on 5-for-12 shooting from the floor. From 3-point range, Hastings was an Applebee’s special 2-for-20. It all meant that the Broncos spent most of the night staring at a double-digit deficit.

As for Concordia, it would love to bottle this high level play up. Each of its last four victories have come by double-digit margins. That four-game skid back in December now feels like a distant memory.

Said Limback, “It’s next man up. I feel like this team’s really buying into what we’re trying to do and how hard you have to play.”

The Bulldogs finished with a 38-32 edge on the boards. They were also plus-four in turnover margin in a game that it exerted control of early on. Concordia’s first double-digit lead came at the 9:17 mark of the first half when Smith fluttered in a trey to make it 24-14. Hastings never got any closer than seven points the remainder of the night.

The Bulldogs will go for six in a row on Saturday when they welcome Jamestown (12-6, 3-5 GPAC) to town for a 4 p.m. CT tipoff inside Walz Arena. Concordia will attempt to avenge two losses last season to the Jimmies, who are in their second season as a member of the GPAC.

Concordia stays white hot in 2020, downs Dordt

SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University men’s basketball team has found a new lease on life in 2020. The Bulldogs again surged on the offensive end while turning away Dordt, 91-79, inside Walz Arena on Saturday (Jan. 4). Sophomore Carter Kent has also taken well to the new year. He totaled 25 points for the second-straight game.

Head coach Ben Limback’s squad put together a fine week of play that also saw it emerge from Northwestern with an 88-65 victory over the 19th-ranked Red Raiders. Concordia has run its record to 11-5 overall and back to .500 within the conference (4-4).

“That second half I thought we played harder and offensively we were moving it better,” Limback said. “I thought we made our runs when our defense led into our offense. That’s what we’ve been doing when we’ve played well this year. We certainly did that in the second half.”

The Defenders took a 47-39 lead to the half and led by 10 points early in the second half. They just couldn’t stop the onslaught that was about to hit it. Kent and company sizzled over the final 20 minutes by shooting 54.8 percent (17-for-31) from the floor and by going 10-of-18 from 3-point range. Things usually go well when ‘the big three’ scorers are on their game. In addition to Kent’s 25 points, Tanner Shuck canned 17 and Bevin Sloup knocked in 16.

The Bulldogs are now doing something they failed to do in one-point losses to both Briar Cliff and No. 1 Morningside – finish. Concordia turned a tight 75-72 lead in the last four-and-a-half minutes into a fairly comfortable win by closing it out with a 16-7 run. Kent did the honors of drilling the backbreakers. He struck for a trey apiece at the 3:15 and 2:48 marks to push the lead to 12 (84-72).

Kent just may have taken over the role as the team’s primary weapon. He now leads the team in scoring at 14.8 points per game. Said Kent, “I think (our success) has been due to our ability to stick together through tough times. Some of those games before Christmas break didn’t really go the way we wanted. We just stuck together and knew that at some point the hard work is going to pay off. We’re just clicking right now.”

The lineup most frequently employed by Limback also features sophomore guard Justin Wiersema, who displayed some nice passes in transition. He dropped eight dimes to go along with seven points. Shuck’s return to form was a welcome sight. The Grand Island native was one of three Bulldogs to drop in three treys. Off the bench, Ryan Holt (seven points, four rebounds) and Gage Smith (six points, six rebounds) supplied solid minutes.

Named GPAC Freshman of the Year last season, Kent is on track to do some special things. He added three blocks, three steals and three assists to his Saturday stat line. Said Limback, “Carter is tremendous. We talk about finishing strong (at the rim) and he certainly did that. It was fun to see Tanner Shuck come to life in the second half. I’m just proud of our guys. There were a lot of moments were they got some buckets, but we were able to sustain their runs.”

Dordt (13-5, 5-4 GPAC) is among the teams receiving votes in the national poll. The Defenders had won three-consecutive GPAC games before running into Concordia. Even in defeat, 6-foot-7 Garrett Franken proved to be a handful. He notched 20 points and 11 rebounds. Zach Bussard chipped in with 14 points off the bench.

The Bulldogs will shoot for a fifth win in a row on Wednesday at Hastings (9-9, 2-6 GPAC). Tipoff from Lynn Farrell Arena is set for 8 p.m. CT.

Kent fuels upset at 19th-ranked Northwestern

ORANGE CITY, Iowa – Stunningly dominant are the words that sum up the performance put together by the Concordia University men’s basketball team on Thursday (Jan. 2). Carter Kent scorched the nets at the Bultman Center with 25 points and the Bulldogs picked up their first road win over a ranked GPAC opponent since February 2017. Concordia rocked host and 19th-ranked Northwestern, 88-65.

Perhaps head coach Ben Limback’s squad is just hitting its stride with the calendar flipped to 2020. The Bulldogs have won three in a row to move to 10-5 overall and to 3-4 in conference play.

“Our goal is to win as many possessions as possible,” Limback said. “Carter got off to a great start and I think our guys really fed off of that. Gage (Smith) had a great performance. Defensively we did a nice job holding down their top two scorers. We knew if we rebounded and kept them off the free throw line we would have a chance.

“We did the little things. Even when we’re not shooting it well we’re fighting defensively. This was a great team game.”

Concordia has shown flashes of brilliance, as evidenced by it taking a lead into the final minute of the game on Dec. 11 at No. 1 Morningside. This time the Bulldogs finished while being powered by a trio of rising sophomores in Kent, Smith and Justin Wiersema. Kent and AJ Watson splashed home back-to-back treys and Concordia led 34-22 at the 7:15 mark of the first half. It maintained a double-digit lead the entire rest of the way.

The Bulldogs roared to begin the ‘20s with its 3-point shooting (14-for-34), impressive ball security (only five turnovers) and solid work on the defensive end. The Red Raiders (13-4, 5-2 GPAC) shot 43.6 percent while suffering their first home loss of the campaign. Northwestern had won five-straight home games versus Concordia.

Kent keeps on getting better. He sank 5-of-8 shots from 3-point range and went through stretches where he was nearly unstoppable. Meanwhile, Smith has been a breakout player. He notched 13 points and six rebounds in last week’s win over Peru State. He added 14 more points and six rebounds on Thursday and went 3-for-3 from beyond the arc.

“He really stretches the defense,” Limback said of Smith. “He can guard inside and he’s playing with a lot of confidence. He brings versatility because he can guard big guys. He gives us a different look and is very gifted.”

The star for the Red Raiders has been Trent Hilbrands. He struggled to get going on Thursday. His seven points (3-for-9 from the field) were well below his season average of 18.1 per game. Jay Small topped Northwestern with 17 points. The Red Raiders went just 9-for-17 from the free throw line.

Contrast that with 20-for-29 free throw shooting by the Bulldogs. Wiersema posted 12 points, five assists and three rebounds as the third Concordia player in double figures. Tanner Shuck added nine points and six rebounds while Watson contributed nine points off the bench. Rebounding was even at 41 boards per team.

The most recent Bulldog victory on the home court of a ranked GPAC foe came on Feb. 12, 2017, when Chandler Folkerts spearheaded a 109-106 overtime win over seventh-ranked Dakota Wesleyan. The conference road slate has been brutal thus far with Concordia having already played at Morningside and No. 23 Mount Marty.

Now the Bulldogs try to keep things rolling when they host Dordt (13-4, 5-3 GPAC) at 4 p.m. on Saturday. The Defenders have won three conference games in a row.

Sloup, Dawgs regain shooting touch in blowout win

SEWARD, Neb. – The friendly confines of Walz Arena proved to be the perfect tonic for what ailed the Concordia University men’s basketball team on the offensive end. Senior Brevin Sloup put on a shooting clinic and the Bulldogs punished visiting Peru State College, 109-60, on Saturday (Dec. 28) afternoon. The Mayor poured in 20 of his 26 points in the second half.

Head coach Ben Limback’s squad quickly turned around after arriving back from the Hoop N Surf Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii, where it went 1-1. Concordia is now 9-5 overall this season.

“I felt like we were more aggressive,” Limback said. “I really liked that first half. We got rebounds and we got loose in transition. We talked about cutting better and finishing. Our spacing was better. The ball moved pretty well in the first half – we just turned it over. In the second half Brevin Sloup was amazing. Not only was he scoring, but he was making great passes.”

In terms of point totals, this was the first time the Bulldogs went over the century mark since their 102-92 upset of No. 7 Briar Cliff on Jan. 12, 2019. The program had not reached 109 points since the 109-106 overtime win over No. 7 Dakota Wesleyan on Feb. 12, 2017. This time around, the opponent did not carry a national ranking, but the performance was still quite impressive. Concordia sizzled by shooting 63.2 percent (24-for-38) from the field in the second half.

Leading 44-25 at the break, Sloup and company did not let up. The Seward High School product tore apart the Bobcats by raining home 14 points in the opening four minutes of the second half. Just for fun, Sloup even whirled a pass to Chuol Biel for a throw down that made it 62-32 with more than 15 minutes to go. It was that kind of day for the visitors, who watched one particular sequence that included a missed dunk that turned into a Sloup trey.

“I think the biggest thing was we were just really moving the ball and sharing the ball really well,” Sloup said. “In Hawaii we got stuck doing too much dribbling. Today we were moving the ball well. Guys were finding open shots and we were hitting shots. It was a lot of fun.”

Indeed, the ball movement was superb, as Concordia’s 28 assists would attest. Carter Kent (14) and Justin Wiersema (10) joined Sloup as starters to reach double figures. Off the bench, sophomore Gage Smith enjoyed a nice day by notching 13 points and six rebounds while making all five of his shot attempts. Kent dished out six assists and Sloup and Wiersema dropped five dimes apiece.

Other than a 6-0 deficit out of the gate, the Bulldogs sailed smoothly. A 15-0 run that featured nine points in a row from Kent put Concordia in control in the first half. Eventually, everyone got into the act. Thomas Young put the Bulldogs into triple digits with his second trey of the game. He was one of 13 players wearing white jerseys to register in the scoring column.

“This team is capable of that,” Limback said. “We just haven’t always made the easy plays. We challenged them at half and I certainly felt like the guys met that challenge. We ended with three turnovers in that second half and a lot of assists. It was a fun day and hopefully we can build off this now.”

Not only did Concordia shoot 57.1 percent for the game, it had a massive 47-27 rebound advantage. The Bulldogs went 16-for-36 (.444) from 3-point range while Peru State (6-6) shot 8-for-30 (.267) from distance. Henry Tanksley led the Bobcats with 18 points.

The conference slate will resume in 2020 with a trip to No. 19 Northwestern (13-3, 5-1 GPAC) coming up on Thursday (Jan. 2). Tipoff from Orange City, Iowa, is set for 8 p.m. CT. The Bulldogs will attempt to snap a series losing streak of seven versus the Red Raiders.

Defensive effort, Sloup game-winner make the difference in Hawaii

HONOLULU, Hawaii – The Concordia University men’s basketball team hung its hat on the defensive end on Sunday (Dec. 22) while making enough plays to avoid coming up empty in Hawaii. Senior Brevin Sloup broke a tie in the final seconds with a floater that lifted the Bulldogs to a 59-57 win over Menlo College (Calif.). For the second day in a row, Concordia played at The Shark Tank, the Hawai’i Pacific University home gym in Honolulu.

Head coach Ben Limback’s squad fell by a 65-60 score at the hands of MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan.) on Saturday. Sunday’s victory snapped a four-game skid and pushed the Bulldogs to 8-5 overall.

“It was a lot of the same stuff we’ve been facing offensively,” Limback said. “We’ve been a little out of rhythm and turning the ball over too much. This game we closed out with made free throws, big defensive stops and the game-winning shot at the end by Brevin. The bench was huge today. Thomas Young gave us a great spark. Justin Wiersema has been huge this weekend. He’s really developed as a leader through his confidence level.”

Led by the likes of Carter Kent and Wiersema, the Bulldogs started out 9-for-13 from the floor before this contest settled into a grind. Just like the previous day, Concordia built a double-digit first half advantage before the opposition rallied back. Menlo (6-4) led Sunday’s game as late as the one-minute mark in what turned into a nail-biter.

Two free throws by Ryan Holt with 1:00 remaining knotted the score at 57-57. The Bulldogs responded with a defensive stop and then came up with an offensive board on the ensuing possession. With :5.1 left, Concordia called timeout. Sloup received the in-bounds pass and lofted a 10-foot high archer into the basket for the winner.

In holding off the Oaks, the Bulldogs showed resilience. The game featured eight ties and eight lead changes. Concordia could not have won it without focused energy on the defensive end, where it held Menlo to 29 percent (18-for-62) shooting from the floor. Big man Corey Le’aupepe (14 points on 6-for-9 shooting) supplied a large chunk of the Oak offense. Menlo defeated Hastings, 89-80, two days earlier.

The Bulldogs overcame a minus-11 disadvantage in the turnover battle. A key sequence occurred nearly midway through the second half when Concordia found itself down 41-38. Young surfaced off the bench with back-to-back treys and Ryan Holt followed with another for a 9-0 run. The Bulldogs, who shot 35.7 percent (20-for-56) for the night, did just enough.

“We’re not playing pretty right now, but we’re still getting after it defensively,” Limback said. “We’re holding teams well below their averages. We’re getting good effort and that’s how you stay in games.”

Kent led the way with 16 points while adding five rebounds. Wiersema chipped in with 11 points, four assists and four rebounds. Holt contributed seven points and six rebounds while Chuol Biel paced all players with nine rebounds. Concordia held a 46-39 edge on the boards.

The next time out, the Bulldogs will be back inside Walz Arena. They will host Peru State College at 3 p.m. CT on Saturday, Dec. 28. With it being Seward County Appreciation Day, all fans will be admitted free of charge. Concordia and Peru State also met last season in Peru with the result being a 77-71 Bulldog win.

Before returning to Nebraska, the Bulldogs will make some more memories in Hawaii. Said Limback, “We have to play with confidence on offense, first and foremost. Hawaii is supposed to be fun and basketball is supposed to be fun. Sometimes you get caught up in your personal struggles and you let it affect the next play. We’re not sustaining a high level offensively and that’s what we have to improve on.”

Halftime lead melts in opening game of Hoop N Surf Classic

HONOLULU, Hawaii – The Concordia University men’s basketball program has made its way to Hawaii for the first time since 2001. In their first of two games at the 2019 Malika Sports Tours Hoop N Surf Classic, the Bulldogs went cold in the second half and fell at the hands of MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan.), 65-60, on Saturday (Dec. 21). All games in Hawaii are being held at The Shark Tank (home gym of Hawai’i Pacific University) in Honolulu.

Head coach Ben Limback’s squad has slipped up for the fourth-straight game. In the middle of its stay in Hawaii, Concordia has moved to 7-5 overall.

Things looked quite rosy at the close of the first half when the Bulldogs were the beneficiary of a trey apiece from Justin Wiersema and Carter Kent in the final 30 seconds before the break. At that point, Concordia enjoyed its largest advantage of the afternoon, 37-23. The Bulldogs held onto the lead all the way until the 4:52 mark of the second half.

The Pioneers (9-4), who defeated Hastings in Hawaii two days earlier, dug in and stifled Concordia in the second half. Over the final 20 minutes, the Bulldogs went 11-for-36 (.306) from the field, including 1-of-13 (.077) from 3-point range. In a tight game, Concordia’s 0-for-8 shooting from the foul line was a backbreaker.

The offensive struggles were compounded in the final few minutes. MidAmerica Nazarene’s Jake Alexander broke a 58-58 tie with a layup at the 2:54 mark and then added two free throws about a minute later. During that last 3:20, the lone Bulldog field goal came just before the buzzer when the game had already been salted away.

Shuck poured in a season high of 21 points while making 9-of-20 shots from the floor. Kent (11) and Ryan Holt (10) also reached double figures in scoring. Wiersema grabbed nine rebounds and Sammy Adjei and Chuol Biel hauled in eight boards apiece. Adjei also chipped in with six points.

MidAmerica Nazarene’s night was essentially the reverse from a statistical standpoint. The Pioneers shot 54.7 percent (13-for-24) from the field and the second half. Their free throw advantage proved critical. They knocked down 13-of-17 shots from the charity stipe over the final 20 minutes. Alexander and Dakota Quinn shared the team high with 15 points.

The Bulldogs will close out action at the Hoop N Surf Classic on Sunday. Tipoff versus Menlo College (Calif.) will be at 12 p.m. Hawaii time (4 p.m. CT).

Surprise Lancers cruise past Concordia

YANKTON, S.D. – The Concordia University men’s basketball team got a first-hand look at just how far the Mount Marty program has advanced since last season. A few days after falling just short of an upset at No. 1 Morningside, the Bulldogs were blown out by the 23rd-ranked Lancers, 97-70, in Yankton, S.D., on Saturday (Dec. 14). Mount Marty guards Chris King and Colby Johnson were much too hot to handle.

Head coach Ben Limback’s squad has dropped three GPAC contests in a row and has slipped to 7-4 overall and to 2-4 within league play.

“We got caught up trying to play their game. That’s really what it boiled down to,” Limback said. “We turned it over too much and we played their style. We took too many quick shots and tried some one-on-one stuff. We have guys that want to respond and bounce back. We have to develop a much tougher mindset when adversity strikes. I know our guys will respond and be ready.”

This will be one to forget for Concordia. King and Johnson were cold-blooded. King nailed 8-of-12 attempts from 3-point range on his way to 30 points. Meanwhile, Johnson netted 4-of-7 shots from long range and finished with 21 points. The Lancers (13-2, 6-1 GPAC) scorched the nets with a 21-for-45 (.467) performance from beyond the arc.

There weren’t a whole lot of positives for the Bulldogs, but they did manage to weather an early storm and make a game of it for the bulk of the first half. A trey by Brevin Sloup evened the score at 22-22 (7:58 mark) after Mount Marty had led 16-4. But a 13-4 Lancer run to finish the opening half gave way to an onslaught Concordia had no answer for. Mount Marty took advantage of a rash of Bulldog turnovers to begin the second half while building an insurmountable lead.

Concordia finished minus-12 in turnover margin and went just 8-for-29 from 3-point range. Two Bulldogs posted double-figure scoring totals: Tanner Shuck (14) and Justin Wiersema (12). Sloup shot 3-for-12 from the field and had seven points while Carter Kent shot 3-for-8 and posted nine points. Off the bench, Ryan Holt produced nine points on 4-for-6 shooting.

The fortunes have completely reversed for Mount Marty under the direction of first-year head coach Todd Lorensen. The Lancers went just 6-23 last season and have not had a winning season since 2005-06. As it looks currently, Mount Marty is just a game behind Morningside at the top of the GPAC standings.

Once finals week is finished, the Bulldogs will be able to focus their complete attention on the Malika Sports Tours Hoop N Surf Classic (Dec. 21-22) in Honolulu, Hawaii. On the first day of the weekend classic, Concordia will take on MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan.). The opponent on day two will be Menlo College (Calif.).

Upset bid of No. 1 Morningside comes up a hair short

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Just minted the No. 1 team on Wednesday (Dec. 11) morning, host and defending GPAC champion Morningside got all it could handle from the Concordia University men’s basketball team later that night. The Bulldogs were impossibly hot from 3-point range and held a lead down to the final 10 seconds before falling at Allee Gymnasium, 72-71. It was quite a bounce back after Concordia’s loss to sixth-ranked Dakota Wesleyan over the weekend.

The hurt comes from coming so very close to rocking the NAIA landscape. Head coach Ben Limback’s squad slipped to 7-3 overall (2-3 GPAC), but can take many positives from this performance.

“I thought our guys did a tremendous job of having laser-beam focus,” Limback said. “Carter (Kent) and Brevin (Sloup) were great offensively and Justin (Wiersema) got us going early. We fed off that. Chuol Biel was fantastic throughout the game. Defensively he created so many problems for their guards attacking. You have to tip your hat to their big guy, but we did a good job on pretty much everybody else. A lot of that was due to the effort of the team.”

There certainly was no denying the effort the Bulldogs put forward while up against potential national title contender. With the game on the line, Concordia did not allow Morningside (11-0, 6-0 GPAC) a single made basket over the final three minutes. A jumper by Sloup from just outside of the paint gave the visitors a 71-70 lead with under 1:30 remaining. The score stayed that way until Alex Borchers was fouled and drained two free throws with nine seconds left.

On the attempt at a buzzer beater, Sloup just missed on a heavily guarded trey, deep on the left wing. The Mustangs could finally breathe a sigh of relief in a home scare they likely never saw coming. The only regret for the Bulldogs was that they weren’t able to make just one more play.

“There were so many moments where they would make a big shot or we would make a turnover, but our guys really refocused well tonight,” Limback said. “We got tough stops when we needed them. We had some opportunities down the stretch that didn’t go our way. I told our guys that to be in position to win the game multiple times is what we have to feed off of.”

Concordia got its groove back offensively, making seven of its first nine tries from 3-point range. It finished 13-for-21 (.619) from beyond the arc. Kent (5-for-5 on 3-pointers) knocked in 21 points, Sloup (4-for-7 on 3-pointers) poured in 20 and Wiersema (4-for-5 on 3-pointers) netted 14. In the post, Biel was a warrior. He posted a line of eight points, eight rebounds and six blocked shots. Ryan Holt contributed six points and 12 rebounds off the bench.

A Morningside outfit that went 13-1 at home last season had just enough. Tyler Borchers led the way with 28 points and 10 rebounds. Zach Imig added 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists. The Mustangs shot 46.8 percent from the field compared to a 42.4 percent clip put up by the Bulldogs.

Said Limback, “Tonight should give us confidence. We need to take this and build off of it. Let’s not just settle for playing close. We have to look at what we need to do better and how we could execute certain possessions better. We can be just as good as anybody when we focus on one possession at a time.”

The Bulldogs will play within the conference for the final time prior to Christmas/New Year’s when they head to Yankton, S.D., to take on 23rd-ranked Mount Marty (12-2, 5-1 GPAC) at 4 p.m. CT on Saturday. Concordia has won eight of its last 10 meetings with the Lancers, who have been one of the surprises of NAIA Division II basketball.

Shooting woes plague Bulldogs in loss to DWU

SEWARD, Neb. – A shooting percentage south of 40 wasn’t going to get the job done with the Concordia University men’s basketball team up against perennial national qualifier Dakota Wesleyan on Saturday (Dec. 7). The sixth-ranked Tigers, led by prolific scorer Ty Hoglund, emerged from Walz Arena with a 77-57 victory. They handed the Bulldogs just their second loss this season.

Head coach Ben Limback’s squad slipped to 7-2 overall (2-2 GPAC) as part of a week that included an 83-77 double overtime win over Doane on Wednesday.

“They do a good job of preventing you from getting it inside in the paint,” Limback said. “I felt like we had some really good looks this game. We just didn’t make them. Again, we have to struggle through that. We have to continue to guard and play defense. I thought we did a better job on Hoglund after the first five minutes, but we have to get tough.”

The shooting numbers don’t always tell the whole story, but they painted the picture quite well on this particular day. Dakota Wesleyan (9-1, 5-1 GPAC) shot 56.9 percent (33-for-58) from the floor compared to the 36.1 percent (22-for-61) clip posted by Concordia, which went just 6-of-32 (.188) on 3-point attempts. The Tigers also held a comfortable 41-28 advantage on the boards.

The Bulldogs hung tight for the better part of 30 minutes on Saturday. They trailed by only five (49-44) with under 11:30 remaining. While Hoglund was nearly shut out in the second half, guard Nick Harden went wild for a game high 25 points – 12 of which came over the final 11 minutes and change. His surge was more than enough to lift Dakota Wesleyan to victory while Concordia sputtered on the other end.

Senior Brevin Sloup returned to the lineup after sitting out on Wednesday. He put home a team high 12 points, but went 0-for-9 from long range. Justin Wiersema also added 10 points. Off the bench, Ryan Holt (seven points and four rebounds) and AJ Watson (seven points and two assists) provided a spark. Chuol Biel grabbed eight rebounds.

Head coach Matt Wilber’s squad does not go deep into its bench. Harden played all 40 minutes and three other starters played at least 36 minutes. Hoglund wound up with 16 points (11 below his average) and 11 rebounds. Tyson Smiley poured in 15 points and Tristan Teichmeier chipped in 14. The Tigers only attempted 13 treys, but made six of them.

The task will be every bit as challenging on Wednesday when the Bulldogs will be at No. 2 Morningside (10-0, 5-0 GPAC) for an 8 p.m. CT clash in Sioux City, Iowa. The Mustangs remained undefeated by beating their intra-city rival Briar Cliff, 81-72, on Saturday.

Bulldogs hold off Doane in double OT

SEWARD, Neb. – It got a little harrier than the Concordia University men’s basketball team would have liked, but it found a way to hold off Doane in Wednesday night (Dec. 4)’s GPAC clash inside Walz Arena. The Bulldogs let an 18-point second half lead melt away before recovering to pull an 83-77 double overtime victory out of the fire. It was Concordia’s first outing since a 70-58 win over Nebraska Christian College on Nov. 23.

Two-straight GPAC home contests have been heart thumpers for head coach Ben Limback’s squad, which moved to 7-1 overall (2-1 GPAC).

The Bulldogs seemingly had control of the game until the Tigers (4-9, 0-4 GPAC) chipped away from their disadvantage over the final nine minutes of regulation. Doane closed regulation with a 26-8 run. Isiah Sykes necessitated overtime by draining a 3-point shot with under 10 seconds remaining. Concordia missed an opportunity with one last crack at a bucket just before the buzzer.

Already facing adversity without point guard Brevin Sloup, the Bulldogs showed some resilience in the first overtime. A trey by Sam Scarpelli and a bucket by Justin Wiersema erased what had been a five-point deficit (71-66). Both baskets came after offensive rebounds. Chuol Biel then helped seal the win in double overtime by a bucket inside and then a pair of free throws in the last minute. Biel also grabbed two defensive boards in the waning moments.

Limback leaned heavily upon his starters, each of which played at least 33 minutes. Carter Kent paced Concordia with 22 points on 7-for-13 shooting from the floor. All five starters scored in double figures, including Wiersema (16), Biel (13), Scarpelli (12 points and seven assists) and Tanner Shuck (10). Biel (three blocks) and Shuck (three blocks) both recorded double-doubles.

Neither team shot particularly well with the Bulldogs putting up a 39.2 percent clip from the floor and Doane posting a shooting percentage of 37.7. Anthony Laravie knocked home a game high 24 points (in addition to 12 rebounds) and helped spur the Tiger comeback. Doane remains winless in conference play.

The Bulldogs will continue their week at home by hosting sixth-ranked Dakota Wesleyan (8-1, 4-1 GPAC) at 4 p.m. CT on Saturday. Concordia will attempt to snap a three-game series skid against the Tigers, a program that has reached the national tournament in each of the past five seasons.

Kent basket, defensive stop keys last-second upset of No. 9 Benedictine

SEWARD, Neb. – This one came with perhaps a bit more late game drama than the Concordia University men’s basketball team would have preferred, but it got the job done. Carter Kent’s darting layup in the final few seconds proved to be the winning basket in a pulse-pounding 66-65 Bulldog triumph over ninth-ranked (NAIA Division I) Benedictine College (Kan.) in Saturday (Nov. 2)’s final game of the 20th annual Cattle Classic.

Seventh-year head coach Ben Limback’s squad has met every challenge to date and now sits at 4-0. The latest victory stands out as the most impressive considering the Ravens of the Heart of America Athletic Conference won 31 games last season.

“This is a gritty, gutsy group,” Limback said. “That team we played today was really, really good. I can see why they had such a great year last year – well-coached and they have guys that don’t like to lose. We knew in the second half they were going to come back and make a run at some point. We just wanted to match it. Shots won’t always fall, but if we can play defense and get to the free throw line, then you’re going to be in a lot of games.”

Who knows exactly where this journey will ultimately lead, but Concordia is showing that it’s clearly an improved team. It led virtually the entire game on Saturday, even mounting an advantage as large as 16 points in the opening half. Eventually Colby Nickels (game high 20 points) and Benedictine chiseled their way back into the contest.

Raven reserve Chris Jackson made his only six points of the night count. He buried back-to-back 3-pointers to edge Benedictine in front, 65-64, with 13.8 seconds left in the game. That’s when Limback drew up a play that the Bulldogs executed to perfection. Kent curled around two screens, cut to the basket and finished off a pretty feed from Tanner Shuck. The Ravens did not even get up a shot on the last possession as the buzzer sounded.

“I think it was just staying mentally tough throughout the game,” said senior Brevin Sloup. “We knew they’re obviously a really good team. We knew they would claw back. We just stuck together and played really hard.”

Sloup’s playmaking exploits on the offensive end always come in handy. Limback also lauded his defensive work afterwards. Sloup netted 19 points while Kent poured in 18, Sam Scarpelli had 10 and Shuck pitched in nine. Concordia shot only 39.6 percent from the floor, but it made 18-of-21 free throws and held Benedictine to 36.7 percent shooting. Four of the team’s five starters played 36 or more minutes.

“We have a lot of room for improvement and they know that,” Limback said. “We didn’t rebound down the stretch like we needed to, but I love the gutsy plays. Brevin made some great defensive plays and Sammy (Adjei) did some great screening action that we don’t always see. All around it was a great group effort.”

The Bulldogs will have nine days in a row without a game before resuming action on Tuesday, Nov. 12 when conference play opens up. Midland (2-1) will be at Walz Arena on that date for an 8 p.m. CT contest. In last season’s meetings, the home team won in both instances.


Jaiden Bristol, Benedictine

Bart Hiscock, Hastings

Tanner Shuck, Concordia

Brevin Sloup, Concordia

Donte Walker, Dickinson State

Concordia tops 2019 national qualifier, moves to 2-0

HASTINGS, Neb. – The treys weren’t falling like they were a day earlier, but the Concordia University men’s basketball team found a way to get it done on Saturday (Oct. 26) afternoon. The Bulldogs fell behind by seven points in the second half before pulling out a 74-69 victory over Friends University (Kan.) inside Lynn Farrell Arena as part of the Hastings College Classic. Tanner Shuck and Brevin Sloup supplied 17 points apiece.

Head coach Ben Limback’s squad also blew out Dakota State University (S.D.), 93-60, on Friday at the event. Concordia has jumped out to a 2-0 start.

“We didn’t shoot as well today, but it’s hard to match what we did yesterday,” Limback said. “I thought offensively we were a little stagnant, but I’m really pleased with the play of Sammy Adjei. He did some great things for us offensively. Justin Wiersema played really big for us down the stretch. It was a back-and-forth game in the second half and he helped inspire us to finish.

“It was a great test for our defense. We have to get better at defending the dribble drive. They really got to the basket on us. Overall it was great to get a win despite not playing our best.”

The defining stretch of this one came after Friends built a 51-44 lead at just under the 12-minute mark of the second half. An Adjei basket in the paint initiated an 18-4 run that flipped the script and provided a seven-point (62-55) Bulldog lead. Playing near his native Grand Island, Shuck capped that surge with a triple. Concordia never led the Falcons (0-2) get any closer than four points the rest of the way.

Limback would certainly like to see his squad shore things up when facing attacking guards like James Conley. He helped Friends hang in there by totaling a game high 24 points on 8-for-19 shooting from the floor. Neither team shot the three with consistency, but the Bulldogs had the advantage in overall shooting percentage (48.2 to 45.8).

Shuck, Sloup and Adjei (15 points on 7-for-10 shooting) were Concordia’s three double figure scorers. Limback used three starters for more than 30 minutes of playing time on Saturday. He feels pretty comfortable also going deep into the bench of a fairly experienced squad.

“It’s a challenge for sure,” Limback said. “There are some games where the matchups will be different. Everyone in the locker room has to be ready. The majority of them have played in the league so that’s great. The next guy has to be ready to pick up the slack. I do think our depth is going to be a strength of ours.”

Chuol Biel contributed eight points and eight rebounds for the victors. Sam Scarpelli and Wiersema chipped in seven points apiece. Collectively they helped sink a Friends team that reached the national tournament last season.

Next on the docket is the 20th annual Cattle Classic, which will take place Nov. 1-2. On the first day of the weekend event, the Bulldogs will welcome Dickinson State (N.D.) to Seward for an 8 p.m. CT clash.

Bulldogs blister nets while winning in return to action

HASTINGS, Neb. – While opening the 2019-20 season on Friday (Oct. 25) evening, the Concordia University men’s basketball team hit Dakota State University (S.D.) with a dizzying 3-point flurry. Point guard Brevin Sloup rang in the start of his senior campaign with a game high 24 points while leading a 93-60 blowout victory in a neutral court game played in Hastings, Neb.

Ben Limback, who is at the outset of his seventh season at the helm of the program, has a roster chock-full of familiar faces. The Bulldogs certainly had the look of a squad comfortable with one another in the rout.

“I was just pleased with the start to the game and the bench energy,” Limback said. “It was just good to see some guys do what we ask of them and have great energy. We were able to space the floor and our ball movement was good. The way they were guarding us they were playing us to shoot the three more. Our guys did a great job of shooting with confidence.”

Sloup was hot early and wound up burying six 3-point field goals in a contest that saw Concordia need less than eight-and-a-half minutes to build a double-digit lead. Nine different Bulldogs knocked in at least one trey in a stunning shooting performance. Concordia went 19-of-42 (.452) from downtown and led by as many as 38 points.

Limback got impressive results from the same starting five he employed for much of the second half of last season. It included Sloup along with sophomores Carter Kent and Justin Wiersema in the backcourt and seniors Tanner Shuck and Chuol Biel. None of them had to log heavy minutes due to the lopsided nature of the score. Sixteen players suited up and 13 of them found the scoring column for the Bulldogs, who shot 54.5 percent (36-for-66) overall.

In addition to Sloup netting six treys, newcomer Sam Scarpelli (3-for-6), junior Ryan Holt (3-for-4) and Kent (2-for-7) each drilled multiple attempts from long range. Sloup was the lone Bulldog to reach double figures, but he had plenty of help with Scarpelli and Holt contributing nine apiece. Shuck added seven and Biel had six.

Concordia also played some defense. It limited the Trojans to 5-for-17 shooting in the first half and built a 45-27 advantage at the break. The only thing that kept it from getting even more out of hand was Dakota State’s free throw shooting. It went 25-for-33 from the charity stripe. The Trojans (9-22 overall in 2018-19) were paced by 18 points from Josh McGreal.

“The takeaway we had is we have to limit our fouls,” Limback said. “We had too many hand checks. We have to clean that up, but I was pleased overall with our effort on the defensive end.”

Biel led the way in the rebounding department with 10 boards. He also blocked two shots and swiped two steals. The Bulldogs ruled the boards, 35-21. Sammy Adjei pitched in with five points and five boards off the bench.

The Hastings College Classic will continue on Saturday when the Bulldogs will take on Friends University (Kan.). Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. CT from Lynn Farrell Arena. The Falcons were in action Friday night against the host Broncos. Friends qualified for the 2019 NAIA Division II national tournament.