2016 NCAA Div. III tournament qualifier
SANTA BARBARA, CALIF.—Minus two starters, the Central College men’s basketball team nonetheless made a spirited bid for the Tom Byron Classic title before falling to host Westmont College (Calif.) 80-75 late Wednesday.
Dutch guard Miguel Ley (senior, San Antonio, Texas, Judson HS) was named the tournament MVP. Ley matched his season high with 28 points and seven assists after putting up 19 points and eight assists in a 99-75 rout of Westminster College (Pa.) Tuesday.
Forward Jack Bruns (sophomore, Story City, Roland-Story HS) joined Ley on the all-tournament team. Bruns had 17 points and five rebounds Wednesday.
Bruns and forward James Chapline (junior, Ogden) were thrust into the starting lineup because center Zach Cooper (senior, Johnston) was sidelined by illness and guard/forward Mark Holan (senior, Fontanelle, Nodaway Valley HS) had to sit out because of an injury suffered the previous night.
Chapline, like Bruns, came up big in his new spot with 11 points and a career high 13 rebounds. Forward Loren Liming (senior, Ames, Gilbert HS) had eight points and eight rebounds.
“I thought the guys that had to fill new roles, James Chapline and Jack Bruns, did an outstanding job,” coach Mike Boschee said. “It was a good team effort, we just came up on the short end.”
Central (9-3) led NAIA Westmont (9-2) by as many as seven points in the first half. Westmont grabbed a 37-35 lead late in the period, but Ley’s 3-pointer at the buzzer put Central up 38-37 at halftime.
The Dutch built a 46-40 lead with 16 minutes left in the game but the Warriors inched ahead 53-52 with 12:45 remaining and didn’t trail the rest of the way, although the game was tied 11 times. Two Ley free throws with 36 seconds left pulled Central to within 76-75 but the Dutch were scoreless the rest of the way.
“It was a great game,” Boschee said. “It was a championship game and it was a great atmosphere for our guys to play in. I felt we competed hard.”
Westmont coach John Moore said it was a hard-fought game.
“I thought Central outplayed us in the first half," he said. "In the second half, I thought it was a pretty even match. When you play against a team that is as hungry as they are, you have to match that intensity. In the second half our execution and our intensity was a little better."
Ley climbed into seventh place on Central’s career scoring list with 1,285 points, passing Eugene Loomans (1961-64) and Pat Rangel (1984-88) Wednesday night. Ley is now sixth in career assists with 245.
The Dutch return to Iowa Conference action next Wednesday, playing host to the Univ. of Dubuque in a women’s-men’s doubleheader. The women’s game tips at 6 p.m. at P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium, with the men’s game at 8 p.m. Dubuque is 7-4 overall and 1-2 in league play.