2016 NCAA Div. III tournament qualifier
WAVERLY — Wartburg College dialed up the pressure in the second half, but Central College fought off a comeback bid to secure a 76-69 men's basketball victory Wednesday night, its ninth win in a row.
The Dutch came out of the gate strong in the opening period, shooting to a 15-8 advantage at the 13:17 mark. A 13-4 run in the ensuing minutes helped push the Dutch to a 43-28 halftime dead.
“We were making shots; it’s as simple as that,” said coach Mike Boschee. “We put ourselves in good positions and made them count.”
Central increased its advantage to 19 points to open the second period, but Wartburg responded with a strong defensive showing to close the game. The Knights outscored the Dutch 41-33 in the period, shooting 47.1 percent from the field compared to Central’s 40.7.
“We played well for 37 minutes,” said Boschee. “Wartburg is a good team though, and they really picked up the intensity defensively. That is something we need to make sure our players are ready to handle.”
Powered by two 3-pointers in the final minute, Wartburg narrowed the deficit to five points with 20 seconds remaining, but a foul led to two Demarco Turner (guard, senior, Des Moines, East HS) free throws in the final seconds, helping secure the Dutch victory.
Turner led Central’s offensive attack, recording 16 points on the night. Forward Chris Lehmann (senior, Champaign Ill., Central HS) followed with 14 points and also fronted the rebounding effort, bringing down six boards for the Dutch.
The win gives Central a 10-1 record, including a 4-0 Iowa Conference mark. Wartburg falls to 7-6 overall, and is 1-3 in league play.
“We’re very excited to get a win on the road,” said Boschee. “Wartburg is a quality program with good players, and it means a lot to come away with the win.”
Central returns to action Saturday when it plays host to 1-8 Crown College (Minn.) for a women’s-men’s doubleheader at P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium. The women tip off at 2 p.m. with the men’s contest slated for 4 p.m.
Both games will be broadcast on KRLS-FM (92.1) with live stats and a video webcast accessible at www.central.edu/athletics.