2016 NCAA Div. III tournament qualifier
PELLA—Luther College grabbed a narrow lead in the second half and made it stand, handing Central College a 75-66 men’s basketball loss Saturday.
Tied 48-48 with 14:06 left in the game, the Norse (10-4 overall, 3-0 conference) made a 7-0 run for a 48-55 advantage. The Dutch (7-6 overall, 0-3 conference) cut the margin to one, 60-59, with 8:14 remaining, but a Luther 3-pointer kept the Norse in command for the remainder of the game.
Luther shot 47.4 percent, including 61.5 in the first half, to Central’s 46.4. The Norse won the rebound battle, 37-31, with 14 offensive boards, and also made 21 trips to the charity stripe, knocking down 16 free throws.
“Offensive boards and free throws is why we’re in the loss column,” coach Craig Douma said. “If we get to the free-throw line more and cut their offensive boards in half it’s a different game. It came down to two or three possessions tonight.”
Guard Branden Stubbs (junior, Pleasant Hill, Des Moines Christian HS) notched his second double-double with 15 points and 10 assists. Guard Nick Marinkovich (junior, Clarendon Hills, Ill., Hinsdale Central HS) also had 15 points, hitting 4-of-7 from long range.
“Nick carried the team and Branden did a good job of finding him,” Douma said. “Nick got some looks and then did a good job attacking the hole later in the game.”
Center Jacob Winkler (senior, Lancaster, Mo., Schuyler R-1 HS) had 12 points. Forward Matt Greenfield (sophomore, Huxley, Ballard HS) collected a game-high nine rebounds.
Central meets the University of Dubuque Wednesday in women’s-men’s doubleheader at P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium in Pella. The women’s contest begins at 6 p.m. with the men tipping off around 8 p.m. Dubuque is 11-3 overall with a 1-2 league record after a 70-68 overtime defeat to Buena Vista University Saturday.