2016 NCAA Div. III tournament qualifier
PELLA — Central College will play host to a first-round game in the six-team Iowa Conference men’s basketball tourney Tuesday.
The fourth-seeded Dutch (18-7 overall, 10-6 conference) take on fifth-seeded Luther College (16-8 overall, 10-6 conference) in a 7 p.m. game at P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium. A video webcast and live stats will be available through the Central athletics website at www.central.edu/athletics.
The two clubs each won on the other’s home floor this season. Luther was a 67-61 victor at Pella Jan. 18 but Central pulled out a 77-74 double-overtime triumph at Decorah Feb. 11. Luther, which captured the 2011 league title, and Central, the 2010 champ, tied for fourth place but Central got the No. 4 seed through a tiebreaker.
The winner of Tuesday’s game advances to take on regular-season champion Coe College (18-7 overall, 12-4 conference) Thursday at Cedar Rapids at 7 p.m. in the semifinals. The championship is slated for Saturday. The tourney champ is awarded the league’s automatic berth in the NCAA Division III tournament.
Central is making its 13th league tournament appearance since 1998-99, but it’s just the third home appearance for the Dutch in the tourney. Central played both of its tournament games at home in 2010.
It’s the sixth straight tourney berth for the Dutch under coach Mike Boschee, who is in his ninth season. He inherited a club that was 6-20 in his first year at Central, but in the past three seasons, his squads have posted a 54-26 mark. Central’s 18 season wins this year are the team’s second-most since 1979-80.
Guard Demarco Turner (senior, Des Moines, Eastl HS), a first-team all-conference pick last year, leads a balanced Central attack, averaging 13.0 points and 2.1 assists per game. Forward Jacob Winkler (junior, Lancaster, Mo., Schuyler R-1 HS) has blossomed in a reserve role with 10.4 points and 6.8 rebounds while shooting 57.8 percent from the field. Forward Jack Bruns (senior, Story City, Roland-Story HS) is averaging 9.1 points and 5.4 boards.
Iowa Conference men’s basketball tournament
First round – Tuesday, February 21
No. 5 Luther (10-6) at No. 4 Central (10-6), 7 p.m.
No. 6 Simpson (8-8) at No. 3 Dubuque (11-5), 8 p.m.
Semifinals – Thursday, February 23
Luther/Central winner at No. 1 Coe (12-4), 7 p.m.
Simpson/Dubuque winner at No. 2 Buena Vista (11-5), 7 p.m.
Championship – Saturday, February 25
Semifinal winners at highest remaining seed, TBA