2016 NCAA Div. III tournament qualifier
DECORAH—Central College saw several leads disappear but capitalized when it mattered, escaping Luther College 77-74 in a double-overtime Iowa Conference men’s basketball victory Saturday.
The Dutch held a 12-point lead with 11:50 remaining in the second half when Luther stitched together an offensive burst over the next seven minutes to trim the margin to one. The Norse held a 53-50 advantage with 24 seconds on the clock but guard Demarco Turner (senior, Des Moines, East SH) drained a clutch 3-pointer to tie the score. Forward Jacob Winkler (junior, Lancaster, Mo., Schuyler R-1HS) swatted Luther’s potential game-winning jumper to send the game into overtime.
Central reeled off a 5-0 run halfway through the first overtime period to go up 62-57, but the Norse battled back again to draw within one with 16 seconds left. A free throw from guard Brock Caves (senior, Douds, Van Buren HS) gave the Dutch a two-point lead but Luther’s Dane Larson knocked down a jumper in the final seconds to send the game into a second overtime. The teams’ traded points until the final minute. Forward Jack Bruns (senior, Story City, Roland-Story HS) hit a basket to put Central ahead by one, then secured a defensive rebound, forcing the Norse to foul.
“We showed a lot of heart,” coach Mike Boschee said. “We had a lot of emotion and ups and downs in the game but we made the plays when we needed to. Luther made plays as well but when the final buzzer sounded we were ahead."
Winkler led four Dutch players in double digits, posting his fourth career double-double with a game-high 23 points and 15 rebounds. Turner had 16 points and five assists, forward Chris Lehmann (senior, Champaign, Ill., Central HS) had 11 points and eight rebounds and Bruns had 10 points.
“When we share the basketball the way we did tonight and take good shots and find the open man, good things are going to happen to us,” Boschee said.
Central shot 42.2 percent from the floor and hit eight-of-20 shots from long distance. The Norse shot 40.3 percent. The Dutch outrebounded Luther 46-45 and forced 18 Norse turnovers.
“I felt like we guarded well throughout the game,” Boschee said. “We only had a couple of stretches where we didn’t rebound as well as we needed to, but overall I was pleased defensively.”
With the win, Central (16-7 overall, 8-6 conference) clinches a spot in the six-team league tournament. The loss drops Luther (16-6 overall, 10-4 conference) into a three-way tie for first place in the conference standings.
Central wraps up its last two regular season games at P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium. The Dutch host Simpson College at 8 p.m. Wednesday before facing Wartburg College next Saturday. Simpson is 11-11 overall and 8-6 in the league after a 66-62 win over Cornell College Saturday.