2016 NCAA Div. III tournament qualifier
PELLA—After edging Luther College in double overtime just 10 days ago, the Central College men’s basketball team saw its season cut short in the opening round of the Iowa Conference tournament Tuesday night, suffering a 63-60 defeat.
Unlike the last meeting, Central was unable to come up with the clutch plays. The Dutch held a four-point advantage with 8:34 left in the game but the Norse rattled off an 11-3 run that included three 3-pointers to go up 53-49. The Dutch were within two with just over two minutes remaining but couldn’t finish the shot while Luther hit seven-of-nine free throws.
Luther (17-8), which advances to meet regular-season champion Coe College at Cedar Rapids in the semifinals Thursday, shot 38.8 percent from the floor and 60 percent (9-15) from 3-point range. The Dutch hit just 35.5 percent and 39.1 from long distance.
“Luther is a really good basketball team and they had a couple players give them big nights,” coach Mike Boschee said. “We had our chances throughout the game but didn’t make enough plays offensively.”
Guard Nick Marinkovich (junior, Clarendon Hills, Ill., Hinsdale Central HS) led the Dutch with 14 points, shooting 66.7 percent (4-6) from behind the arc. Forward Jacob Winkler (junior, Lancaster, Mo., Schuyler R-1 HS) had 13 points and seven rebounds and guard Demarco Turner (senior, Des Moines, East HS) had 10 points. Forward Jack Bruns (senior, Story City, Roland-Story HS) grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.
The loss ends Central’s season at 18-8, the second highest win total since 1979-80. The squad topped the school record for season 3-point goals attempted (602) and was just four 3-pointers short of the 3-point goals made mark (220). Central’s 11-game win streak at the beginning of the year is the program’s third longest.
Four players will be lost to graduation: Turner, Bruns, guard Brock Caves (Douds, Van Buren HS) and forward Chris Lehmann (Champaign, Ill., Central HS).
“The four seniors have done a lot of good things for this program and we appreciate everything they’ve given us in their careers,” Boschee said. “Even though the season wasn’t as long as we wanted, this group of men accomplished a lot.”