SEWARD, Neb. – A white hot 10-minute stretch of action during the second half provided flashbacks of the offensive efficiency the Concordia University men’s basketball team showed off throughout the 2016-17 season. It’s been only two games, but this Bulldog sophomore bunch appears to have crazy potential. The likes of second-year players Jake Hornick and Clay Reimers piloted Concordia to a 96-81 win over visiting Mount Mercy University (Iowa) on Friday evening (Nov. 3) in what was day one of the 18th annual Cattle Classic.
Four days after rallying from a 10-point deficit for victory at Kansas Wesleyan University, fifth-year head coach Ben Limback’s squad knocked off a Mustang squad that earned a bid to the 2017 NAIA Division I national tournament.
“Offensively we started to make some shots and really open it up,” Limback said. “Defensively we had to go zone on them because they were too athletic and quick. We were getting beat in the first half with some easy buckets. I thought the zone helped us play a little harder on the wings and get more deflections. We came out with a nice win over a good team.”
A product of Lincoln East High School, Reimers appears ready to fill the role of star post player that had been vacated by All-American Chandler Folkerts. Reimers put up 25 points and 10 rebounds while throwing down several emphatic flushes. At the point, it was a second-straight stellar outing for Hornick, who totaled 18 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals.
For Concordia (2-0) to enjoy a successful season, it will have to get plenty of production from a sophomore class that holds down four spots in the starting lineup.
“We are a young team and I think we can use that as an advantage,” Reimers said. “We’re not going to be the ones to be punched first. We’re going to go out there and punch them first. We’ve got a lot of fight and we’re going to prove that throughout the whole game.”
The second half treated fans to an offensive display that got started with a 10-0 run punctuated by a Kyle Pierce drive and flush. Concordia led 52-45. Seven minutes later, the lead bulged to 19 (75-56) at the 9:50 mark. Included in that sequence were three possessions that went: Hornick trey, Brevin Sloup trey, Zach Friel trey. It was a knockout blow to the Mustangs (1-1).
After being held scoreless at Kansas Wesleyan, sophomore Tanner Shuck got going in the second half and finished with 14 points (4-for-7 from 3-point range). Off the bench, Friel contributed nine points and four rebounds and Sloup chipped in eight points. Piece recorded nine points and seven rebounds for a team that shot 53.7 percent (36-for-67) compared to 50.0 percent (33-for-66) by Mount Mercy.
Individually, it was Reimers that stole the show with his moves in the post. Said Limback, “He had a great second half. He had some foul trouble, but I felt like he played through that and just attacked the basket. He’s got the ability to do a lot of things for us and he’s got to continue that.”
The Mustangs, a member of the Heart of America Athletic Conference, got a team high 18 points from Jake Anderson. Mike Evans added 15 points and five rebounds.
In the final game of this year’s Cattle Classic, the Bulldogs will go head-to-head with Evangel University (Mo.), a member of the Heart of America Athletic Conference. In the Crusaders’ season opener in Seward on Friday, they dropped a 74-70 battle with Midland. Saturday’s tipoff is slated for 5 p.m. CT inside Walz.