2016 NCAA Div. III tournament qualifier
SAN JUAN, P.R.—Five players reached double figures as the Central College men’s basketball team used a scorching offense to roll up their eighth consecutive victory, 87-69 over Sacred Heart (P.R.) Monday in Puerto Rico.
The Dutch rebounded from their coldest offensive performance Sunday to shoot a sizzling season-best 55.7 percent from the floor (34-61), including 52.6 percent from long range. Central hit 87.5 percent behind the arc (7-8) in the second half.
Forwards Jack Bruns (senior, Story City, Roland-Story HS) and Chris Lehmann (senior, Champaign, Ill., Central HS) led the balanced attack with 15 points each. Bruns was 7-for-7 from the floor while Lehmann connected on 6-of-8 shots and had six rebounds.
Guard Kevin Kaerwer (sophomore, El Paso, Texas, John L. Chapin HS) turned in a career-best 14 points and Jacob Winkler (junior, guard, Lancaster, Mo., Schuyler R-1 HS) had 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Guard Demarco Turner (senior, Des Moines, East HS) chipped in 11 points and KJ Cool (guard, junior, Chillicothe, Mo., Newtown Harris R-3 HS) dished a career-best seven assists.
“I really like the balance of this team,” coach Mike Boschee said. “On any given night we’ve got several players who can make shots from the perimeter and players who can come in and score inside.”
Central took a 36-27 lead into intermission and extended the gap to 28 before the final buzzer. The Dutch won the rebound battle 41-28. Sacred Heart shot 41.1 percent from the field.
While the offense was clicking, Boschee saw room for improvement on the other side of the ball.
“There were some little things we could have done better defensively,” Boschee said. “You need to always be committed on the defensive end and not let up. I think we have that mentality but it’s something we need to get better at.”
Central moves to 9-1 overall, the team’s fastest start since the 1977-78 season. The Dutch take a 15-day Christmas break before returning to Iowa Conference play with a women’s-men’s doubleheader Jan. 4 at Waverly against Wartburg College (7-5 overall, 1-2 conference). Game time is 6 p.m. with the men’s tipoff set for 8 p.m. Central has won the last five games against the Knights.