2016 NCAA Div. III tournament qualifier
INDIANOLA—Forward Loren Liming (senior, Ames, Gilbert HS) had 19 rebounds, matching the third-highest total in school history, as Central College pulled out a much-needed Iowa Conference men’s basketball road victory at Simpson College Saturday, 84-80.
That allows the Dutch (14-4 overall) to retain at least a share of first place at 7-2, heading into a key league matchup with defending champion Buena Vista Wednesday at Pella. The Beavers are 6-3 in conference play after an impressive 81-58 thrashing of Wartburg Saturday. Buena Vista handed Central its first conference loss, 77-68 at Storm Lake Dec. 9.
Central shot 63.0 percent in the second half to fend off a determined effort by Simpson. The Dutch led by as many as eight points in the first half but that melted to a 38-37 edge at halftime. Simpson grabbed a brief 45-43 lead with 14:49 left before a 12-4 Central burst put the Dutch up 55-47 at the 11-minute mark.
A late 8-0 Simpson run pulled the Storm within 72-71 with 3:39 left, but the Dutch got four points from guard Miguel Ley (senior, San Antonio, Texas, Judson HS) and a 3-point bucket by guard Justin Madsen (senior, Fort Dodge, St. Edmond HS) to regain control. Ley hit 3-of-4 free throws in the final 20 seconds to clinch the win.
“Simpson played well on its home court and made a lot of tough shots,” coach Mike Boschee said. “We were fortunate to make enough plays down the stretch to get the win.”
Central put five players in double figures. Ley topped the scoring charts with 20 points, along with five assists, while Liming posted his sixth double-double of the campaign with 16 points to go with his 19 boards. He also had two blocks and two steals. Virgil Dykstra set Central’s single-game rebounding mark with 21 in a 1957 contest. Liming shares third on the all-time list with four other players.
Madsen had 11 points while forwards Jack Bruns (junior, Story City, Roland-Story HS) and Mark Holan (senior, Fontanelle, Nodaway Valley HS) each had 10.
“We got a lot of good contributions,” Boschee said. “Loren (Liming) obviously did a good job. Loren and Zach (Cooper) (senior, Johnston) and all of our players take a lot of pride in our rebounding and go after the ball with effort and intensity. Miguel (Ley) had some turnovers early but I thought he kept his confidence and made some big plays late in the game. Justin Madsen and Mark Holan hit a couple big 3’s and did a great job defensively. And Jack Bruns, Brock Caves (sophomore, Douds, Van Buren HS), Chris Lehmann (sophomore, Champaign, Ill., Central HS) and James Chapline (junior, Ogden) really gave us a spark off the bench.”
Central shot 52.4 percent for the game to Simpson’s 46.9 percent and held a 41-32 rebounding edge. But Boschee was disappointed in his team’s 21 turnovers.
“For the second game in a row, our turnovers in the first half were a big concern,” Boschee said. “It wasn’t really because of any pressure from Simpson, I thought we were just a bit careless with the ball. Hopefully we’ll fix some of those things and value the basketball more.”
Central got a lift by hitting nine 3-point goals, matching the season high.
“It helps so much when we’re able to stretch the floor,” Boschee said. “Hopefully that continues to get better.”
Ley is now fifth in school history in career points with 1,386, moving past Mike Valster (1992-96). He’s fourth in career assists (278), sixth in career 3-point goals (124) and tied for eighth in career free throws (252).
Wednesday’s contest with Buena Vista is part of a women’s-men’s doubleheader. The women’s game tips at 6 p.m. at P.H. Kuyper Gym with the men’s game at 8 p.m. Live stats and a video Webcast of the games will be available on the Central athletics Web site at www.central.edu/athletics.