Ben Limback should have known his team was on to something when it hit 19 3-pointers in its season opener.
“I said at the time hopefully we didn’t use them all on that one night,” said Limback, Concordia’s men’s basketball coach.
The Bulldogs certainly haven’t. They’ve hit at least 10 3-pointers in 17 of their 24 games this season and are sixth in NAIA Division II in 3-pointers for the season with 267.
Concordia just completed a streak of hitting double-figure 3s in 10 straight games, capped by an 18-of-37 performance in an 86-82 win over Northwestern last Wednesday.
That string of double-digit 3s ended Saturday when Concordia made nine in a loss at No. 12 Dakota Wesleyan.
“We were on a pretty good run there,” said Limback, whose team is 17-7 after going 15-16 last season. “We’ve got a really good scoring attack. I think we’re shooting it with a lot more confidence.”
The treys have helped Concordia win 10 of its past 12 games. The Bulldogs started the conference season 2-4, but they’re now 8-6 with six games to go. Top-ranked Morningside is comfortably ahead in the GPAC standings, but Concordia is one of seven teams battling for second.
Eight Bulldogs have hit at least 10 3s this season, but their main deep threats have been Brevin Sloup with 62, Carter Kent with 52 and Tanner Shuck with 44. They are Concordia’s top three scorers this season.
Shuck, who is from Grand Island, last week climbed into the top 10 on Concordia’s career scoring list with 1,425 points. Sloup, who is from Seward, has 1,064 career points.
“A big part of our offense is to space the floor,” said Limback, a former Concordia player who is in his seventh year as coach. “At times all five guys have the ability to shoot (3s) and make them. When we’re hitting them, we’re a tough team to stop.”
As we’ve reached the final month of basketball’s regular season, Morningside has a firm handle on the GPAC men’s standings. But in the GPAC women’s standings, Hastings (16-0) and Concordia (15-1) are battling at the top. Those two meet on Feb. 12 in Seward after Hastings won at home in January.
Hastings stayed unbeaten last week with an overtime win over No. 7 Morningside and an 82-71 win over Northwestern. Senior guard Shandra Farmer made a game-tying layup to force overtime against Morningside before scoring a career-high 30 against Northwestern.
Other Midlands teams are in the hunt for conference titles:
» The UNK women are alone in second place in the MIAA after beating No. 16 Fort Hays State 72-67 Saturday as Brooke Carlson led five Lopers in double figures with 18 points. It was UNK’s first season sweep of Hays in 17 years.
» Bellevue’s men are tied for first in the North Star conference. On Friday the Bruins play at Mayville State, which is tied with Bellevue. The Bellevue women, meanwhile, are in second behind Mayville State.
» The Nebraska Wesleyan men, who are getting 26.8 points a game from Nate Schimonitz, have a three-game lead in the American Rivers Conference, while the Peru State men are 11-6 and two games out of first in the Heart of America Conference.
In other Midlands notes:
» The Northeast Community College baseball team, which reached the NJCAA Division II World Series last spring, opened its season over the weekend by winning three of four games against top-ranked and defending national champion Northern Oklahoma-Enid. Brennen Bales of Nebraska City led Northeast with two homers and five RBIs in the series.
» Tanner Farmer, the former Husker offensive lineman who is wrestling at heavyweight for Concordia this semester, won his third tournament title on Saturday as he improved to 17-0.
» The Western Nebraska women’s basketball team extended its win streak to 18, improved to 20-1 and has climbed to No. 3 in the NJCAA Division I poll.