2016 NCAA Div. III tournament qualifier
PELLA—Miguel Ley (junior, San Antonio, Texas, Judson HS) and Loren Liming (junior, Ames, Gilbert HS) combined for 47 points to power the Central College men’s basketball team past Wartburg College Saturday, 75-70.
In the final regular season game the Dutch delivered the shooting accuracy coach Mike Boschee has looked for all year, hitting 55.1 percent from the field, including a steamy 53.8 percent from 3-point range.
“That creates such a spark when you’re able to knock down shots from (3-point range),” Boschee said. “It seems like everything clicks a little better when you have that kind of efficiency.”
Liming was the most accurate, hitting 8-of-11 to finish with 22 points and six rebounds. Ley connected on 10-of-17 for a game-high 25 points with four assists.
“Loren has our highest field goal percentage,” Boschee said. “The more touches he gets, the better off we are. Today he had a size advantage and he took advantage of it.”
Central (13-12 overall, 7-9 conference) took control in the first half. The game was tied 11-11 at the 14-minute mark when the Dutch erupted for a 23-5 burst that put them up 34-16. They pushed the margin to 19 before settling for a 42-32 halftime lead. But Wartburg generated some late heat. Central was up 69-54 with 7:06 left before a 4-minute scoring drought let Wartburg (13-12 overall, 8-8 conference) climb back into the game. The advantage dwindled to 74-70 with 59 seconds left, but the Dutch defense secured the win.
Central outrebounded Wartburg 35-32 but the Dutch had to overcome 21 turnovers. Wartburg shot 42.6 percent from the field.
Central heads into the six-team Iowa Conference tournament Tuesday as the No. 6 seed, traveling to Dubuque to face third-seeded Loras College. The Duhawks were 65-64 winners over Dubuque Saturday and are 15-10 overall with a 10-6 league mark. Central held leads against Loras in both of the teams’ earlier meetings this season, but came away winless. Loras prevailed 60-56 at Dubuque Jan. 19 and rallied for an 84-79 double-overtime win at Pella Feb. 4.
“We’re looking forward to the playoffs,” Boschee said. “The team felt like it let a few games slip away this year and this is a chance to do something special.”