16 Iowa Conference championships
WAVERLY—It’s an early-season win but it’s a big one as the Central College men’s basketball team came from eight points down in the second half and toppled Iowa Conference favorite Wartburg College on the road Saturday, 64-63.
The Dutch (6-1 overall, 2-0 conference) were up 34-26 at halftime, but had to rally for the win. Wartburg (3-2 overall, 0-1 conference) went on a 10-0 run to take a 43-40 lead with13:35 left. The Knights were still up 54-46 at the 6:59 mark when Central reeled off nine unanswered points to take a 55-54 lead with 4:24 remaining. The Dutch nursed a four-point lead for much of the final minutes but Wartburg’s Kelly McCarville, who netted a game-high 28 points, hit a shot inside and was fouled to make it 63-61 with 26 seconds remaining.
McCarville missed the crucial free throw but the Knights got the rebound with a chance to tie when center Zach Cooper (senior, Johnston) stole an entry pass and was fouled with eight seconds left. He hit one free throw to make it 64-61 and the Dutch relinquished a layup with one second remaining, then ran out the clock.
“I thought we held our composure well down the stretch,” coach Mike Boschee said. “It was the kind of game where you have to grind it out and hope you make enough free throws and make enough plays at the end. I felt like we did that.
“We still have a lot of things to work on but this was a nice victory. This is not an easy place to win.”
Guard Justin Madsen (senior, Fort Dodge, Saint Edmond HS) had 17 points, hitting four 3-pointers and 5 of 6 free throws. Forward Loren Liming (senior, Ames, Gilbert HS) had 16 points and seven rebounds, guard Miguel Ley (senior, San Antonio, Texas, Judson HS) had 13 points and four assists and Cooper grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.
Central held a slight advantage from the field, hitting 41.4 percent to Wartburg’s 40.7 percent, and led 39-36 in rebounding.
“We’re happy with the victory but we know we have a long way to go,” Boschee said.
Central has another challenging road test Wednesday, traveling to Storm Lake to meet defending league champion Buena Vista in a women’s-men’s doubleheader with the women’s game starting at 6 p.m. and the men’s game at 8 p.m. The Beavers are 4-2 overall and 2-0 in the conference after a significant road win of their own, 77-69 at Loras College Saturday.