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Central holds off Loras, stays perfect in league race

Women's basketball | Jan. 12, 2012

PELLA—A late second-half run and tough defense let Central College pull away from Loras College for an 81-73 men’s basketball victory Wednesday night.

Improving to 12-1 overall, Central extends its win streak to 11 and maintains a perfect Iowa Conference record at 5-0, sharing first place in the standings with the Univ. of Dubuque (10-3 overall, 5-0 conference). The Dutch face the Spartans Saturday.

Central increased a 38-28 halftime lead to 12 points before Loras College heated up offensively with a 16-0 run around the 14-minute mark to snag a 55-51 edge.

“Defensively, I felt like we lost a few of their shooters,” coach Mike Boschee said. “We weren’t guarding as well. Offensively, I thought we had some pretty good looks but missed and we had a couple of pretty quick shots.”

With six minutes remaining, Central finally quieted the Duhawks with a 12-3 burst and regained the lead, 73-65. The Dutch nailed 8-of-8 free throws in the final minutes to secure the win.

“We found our way back by just playing solid defense and making simple plays on offense, looking for the open man,” Boschee said.

Forward Jack Bruns (senior, Story City, Roland-Story HS) posted his first season double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Guard Nick Marinkovich (junior, Clarendon Hills, Hinsdale Central HS) tied Bruns with 17 points, going 5-of-6 from the floor and making five free throws. Guard Brock Caves (senior, Douds, Van Buren HS) finished with 12 points, hitting 7-of-7 at the line, and forward Chris Lehmann (senior, Champaign, Ill., Central HS) had 11 points.

Loras (4-10 overall, 1-4 conference) shot 41 percent while limiting Central to shooting 40.7, one of its lowest marks of the season.

“One of our strengths has been shooting the basketball but tonight, we just weren’t hitting the outside shot,” Boschee said. “But I was glad we were able to battle a very good team and still get a win.”

The Dutch dominated the glass, outrebounding the Duhawks 45-31.

“One of our goals as a team is to be as great of a rebounding team as we can be every time out,” Boschee said. “I felt like we really committed to rebounding the basketball tonight and that was a huge part of the game for us.” 

Central travels to Dubuque Saturday for a women’s-men’s doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. The Spartans enter the contest coming off a 71-66 road win against Wartburg. Last year, Central and Dubuque split meetings in the regular season, each winning on the road, before Dubuque ended the Dutch season in the league tournament. Central holds a 78-52 advantage in the all-time series.

A live broadcast of the game will be carried on KRLS-FM (92.1) with Eric Gotschall handling the play-by-play.           

Central College