SEWARD, Neb. – Consider the first week of the 2018-19 season a smashing success for the Concordia University men’s basketball team. The Bulldogs completed a sweep of the home stand by routing visiting Barclay College (Kan.), 97-62, on Saturday (Nov. 3), as part of the 19th annual Cattle Classic inside Walz Arena.
Sixth-year head coach Ben Limback’s squad has moved to 3-0. Included in that run was a 79-60 win over No. 25 St. Thomas University (Fla.) on Friday.
“I liked our defensive effort,” Limback said. “That first half we forced a lot of turnovers and that’s something I really wanted our guys to take pride in – getting after it defensively. I thought some of that led to offense on the other end. The other thing was sharing the basketball. I felt like we really shared it and made the easy opportunities for each other.”
This one was about taking care of business and not letting down after Friday’s statement win over a 2018 national tournament qualifier. Limback used the entire roster on Saturday. Five different Bulldogs all reached double figures in scoring: Tanner Shuck (13), Carter Kent (12), Brevin Sloup (11), Ryan Holt (10) and Gage Smith (10). Collectively, the blistered the nets to the tune of a 57.8 team field goal percentage.
Concordia led 19-8 out of the gate after back-to-back treys splashed in by Grant Wragge and Sloup and never looked back. By halftime, the Bulldogs had built an insurmountable 64-33 advantage over the Bears, a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association.
Time will tell, but Concordia is beginning to build confidence in the idea that it can surprise some people this winter.
“We’re playing hard and playing together,” Kent said. “That’s two things that we really focus on. I feel like if we just keep that up then there’s nothing we can be disappointed about.”
Shuck and Sloup were both named to the All-Cattle Classic team. The junior duo figures to be leaned upon all season for scoring punch from the perimeter. Shuck has shown a more well-rounded game thus far. He dished out six assists and added two steals while playing just 15 minutes.
This was a game for the reserves to shine. They did their part in forcing 25 Barclay turnovers. Thirteen of the 14 Bulldogs to see the court registered in the scoring column. Concordia also used its size advantage to outrebound the Bears, 36-21. There wasn’t much margin for error for Barclay, which allowed Kent (4-for-7) and Shuck (3-for-4) to go crazy from 3-point range.
The Bulldogs will open up conference play on the road next week with a trip to Midland (1-1) on Tuesday. Tipoff from the Wikert Event Center is set for 8 p.m. CT. The two sides split their two meetings last season with the home team winning in each instance. The Warriors lost their season opener to Bethany College before rebounding with a victory over College of the Ozarks.
All-Cattle Classic Team
Kevin Miller, Hastings
Justin Brown, St. Thomas
A’donte Turner, Barclay
Brevin Sloup, Concordia
Tanner Shuck, Concordia