2016 NCAA Div. III tournament qualifier
SANTA BARBARA, CALIF.—The Central College men’s basketball team put all five starters in double figures as the Dutch cruised to an easy 99-75 win over Westminster (Pa.) on Tuesday and advanced to the championship game of the Westmont (Calif.) Tom Byron Classic Wednesday.
Central will take on host Westmont at 7:30 p.m. (Pacific Time). The Warriors dispatched Concordia (Neb.) 86-66 in their first round game and are 8-2 on the season.
Despite the margin of victory, Central led by only one point with 3:17 remaining in the first half before taking a 46-40 lead into the intermission. The Dutch opened the second half with a 22-8 run to take a 20-point lead with 12:37 remaining. Central then extended its lead to 91-59 with just under five minutes to go after pulling the starters.
“Our second-half defense allowed us to transition more and get some easy buckets,” said coach Mike Boschee. “It really opened things up for us.”
The Dutch shot an impressive 50.7 percent from the field on 36-of-71 shooting, including 45.5 percent from 3-point range in the second half. The Titans were 8-of-16 from behind the arc in the first half but were held to three makes on 14 attempts in the second. They shot 45.9 percent from the field.
Boschee liked his club’s defensive intensity.
“We guarded the perimeter much better in the second half.” said Boschee. “They scored 24 points on 3-pointers in the first half and only made a few after that.”
The Dutch held Westminster’s D3hoops.com preseason all-American pick Ryne Murray to 15 points on 6-of-16 shooting from the field in his season debut. Murray only had one semester of eligibility remaining and sat out the fall semester.
Central was again led by senior guard Miguel Ley (San Antonio, Texas, Judson HS) with a game-high 19 points and eight assists while center Zach Cooper (senior, Johnston HS) notched his first double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Guard Justin Madsen (senior, Fort Dodge, St. Edmond HS) scored 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc. Guard Marc Holan (senior, Fontanelle, Nodaway Valley HS) and forward Loren Liming (senior, Ames, Gilbert HS) chipped in 12 and 13 points, respectively. Guard DeMarco Turner (junior, Des Moines, East HS) led the Dutch bench with eight points and two steals in ten minutes of playing time.
“No one player stood out tonight,” said Boschee. “We were able to spread the scoring around.”
Central outrebounded the Titans 41-32 and won the turnover battle 15-22. The Dutch improved to 9-2 on the season while Westminster dropped to 2-7.