2016 NCAA Div. III tournament qualifier
PELLA—Central College overcame a 17-point deficit and had a shot to tie the game in the final seconds but the Dutch came up empty as Luther College escaped with a 67-61 Iowa Conference men’s basketball win Wednesday night.
A layup from guard Jacob Winkler (junior, Lancaster, Mo., Schuyler R-1 HS) put the Dutch within one but Luther’s Tyler Wedemeier replied with an easy two in the paint to go up 64-61. Central missed a layup but forced a Luther turnover for a final chance. With three second left, guard Demarco Turner (senior, Des Moines, East HS) dribbled off a screen around the top of the key and tried a long distance shot that bounced out.
“Demarco had a good look but it just didn’t go and we had to foul,” coach Mike Boschee said.
Luther, last year’s league champion, opened the game with a 7-0 run and extended the margin to 17 with a 10-0 burst around the seven minute-mark. Central ended the half with a 6-0 run to make it 36-25 and continued to chip away in the second half. Luther never relinquished its lead.
“Give credit to our players for battling back,” Boschee said. “To have a chance to win after being in that big of a hole is really pleasing. We just didn’t have enough there. We played 30 minutes of good basketball but the start we had was too much.”
Winkler led Central with 20 points, his third straight game scoring double digits. Turner had 11 points and five rebounds and forward Chris Lehmann (senior, Champaign, Ill., Central HS) had 10 points. Guard Brock Caves (senior, Douds, Van Buren HS) had a team-high seven rebounds.
Luther shot 45.3 percent from the floor, including 40 percent (6-15) from behind the arc. Central shot 44.9 percent and was 28.6 percent (4-14) from long distance. Both teams had 31 rebounds. The Dutch committed 16 turnovers to Luther’s 11.
Central, suffering its first loss of the season at P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium, falls to 12-4 overall and 5-3 in the league. Luther improves to 13-3 with a 7-1 league record, the only school with one conference defeat.
The Dutch have a chance to avenge one of its three league losses Saturday, when the Univ. of Dubuque comes to Pella for a women’s-men’s doubleheader starting at 2 p.m. The Spartans defeated Central 72-54 last Saturday. Dubuque is 11-5 overall and 6-2 coming off a 73-62 loss to Buena Vista Wednesday.