2016 NCAA Div. III tournament qualifier
PELLA—The knockout blow was elusive for the Central College men’s basketball team Wednesay night.
The Dutch saw several leads melt away as Loras College escaped with a hard-fought 84-79 double-overtime win.
Central (11-9 overall, 5-6 Iowa Conference) battled through another tough shooting night and were up 57-50 with 3:22 left in regulation, only to have Loras (14-7 overall, 9-3 conference) close with an 8-1 run to force overtime. Central clawed its way to a 70-62 advantage with 1:59 left in the first overtime before the Duhawks finished on an 8-0 burst. Central was up again in the second overtime 75-70 but another scoring drought followed. Loras grabbed its first overtime lead at 78-77 on a Dan Pawelski putback with 59 seconds left and the Duhawks nailed down the win from the free throw line.“I told the guys in the locker room that I thought that they showed great heart for 50 minutes,” coach Mike Boschee said. “They played hard and had chances to put it away, but we just weren’t able to do it.”
The win allowed Loras to clinch a berth in the six-team conference tournament.
The Dutch failed to capitalize on a pair of statistical double-doubles. Forward Loren Liming (junior, Ames, Gilbert HS) hit 8-of-15 from the floor and scored 21 points with 12 rebounds. Center Zach Cooper (junior, Johnston) had 13 points and 11 boards. Guard Miguel Ley (junior, San Antonio, Texas, Judson HS) had 18 points and seven assists.
Loras got 27 points from guard Brian Centella and 24 from guard Jake Oeth. The Duhawks’ shooting touch went awry a few times as well, however, as they shot just 32.5 percent for the night. They outrebounded Central 54-51 and committed just nine turnovers.
Central travels Saturday to the Univ. of Dubuque for a women’s-men’s doubleheader, with the women’s game starting at 2 p.m. and the men’s contest at 4 p.m. The games will be broadcast on KRLS-FM (92.1) and can also be heard via the Central athletics Web site at www.central.edu/athletics. The Dutch were 70-53 winners over Dubuque at Pella Dec. 6. The Spartans, 12-8 overall, are 5-6 in league play.