2016 NCAA Div. III tournament qualifier
ST. BONIFACIUS, MINN.—Trailing by 17 points after the first half, the Central College men’s basketball team couldn’t close the gap against Crown College (Minn.) Monday losing 73-61.
With just 2:59 on the clock, Central went on a 14-point run bringing the score to 67-61 with one minute remaining. But chilly shooting and four free throws by the Storm sealed the loss for the Dutch.
“We really dug ourselves a huge hole in the first half,” said coach Craig Douma. “Bad decisions offensively coupled with poor shooting meant we couldn’t get the edge in the second half.”
The Storm (3-3) stymied the Central offense with the Dutch downing only 32.9 percent from the field and 21.9 percent from 3-point range. Central (4-3) allowed Crown 43 points in the first half, but Douma credits the team for its second-half defense.
“During the first half, we played poor defense. There just wasn’t a lot of effort,” he said. “In the second half, we held them to 30 points, played better defense and had fewer turnovers but we couldn't climb out of that hole we had dug.”
Guards Nick Marinkovich (senior, Clarendon Hills, Ill., Hinsdale Central HS) and Branden Stubbs (junior, Pleasant Hill, Des Moines Christian HS) led the Dutch with 17 points and 13 points, respectively. Marinkovich added seven rebounds. Forward Matt Greenfield (junior, Huxley, Ballard HS) had a team-high 13 rebounds.
“I keep telling the team that we can have an off-night in shooting, but defense has to be an absolute,” Douma said. “If we don’t play solid defense, we will keep seeing these results.”
Central takes on AIB at 6 p.m. at P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium. AIB dropped to 0-12 after losing to Simpson College Tuesday, 65-50.