2016 NCAA Div. III tournament qualifier
DUBUQUE—Down by eight at the half, the Central College men’s basketball team ramped up its offense in the second half, winning Saturday in the final minutes against Loras College, 77-75.
“The first half started off slow for us,” said coach Craig Douma. “But we had a great second half. At halftime, I challenged them to come together as a team. We shared the ball. We played some unselfish basketball.”
Starting the second half, the Dutch (9-6 overall, 2-3 Iowa Conference) slowly whittled away the Duhawk’s (5-11 overall, 0-5 conference) lead, tying the game with 14:39 left in regulation. With the score tied at 69 and just 4:09 remaining, a Dutch 3-pointer and three free throws pushed Central to the narrow win.
Shooting 48.6 percent in the first half, Central outpaced Loras during the second, draining 56 percent from the field and 71.4 percent from 3-point range. Central sank 17 of 18 free throws during the game.
Five Dutch players scored in the double digits. Forward Matt Greenfield (sophomore, Huxley, Ballard HS) had 16 points and four rebounds. Guard Nick Marinkovich (senior, Clarendon Hills, Ill., Hinsdale Central HS) scored 15 points and added four rebounds. Guard Branden Stubbs (junior, Pleasant Hill, Des Moines Christian HS) had 11 points and contributed a career-high 11 assists.
“It’s really hard to mention just one player because we had some big plays across the board,” Douma said. “Nick had a big second half offensively, scoring ten points that half.”
Guards Kevin Kaerwer (junior, El Paso, Texas, John L. Chapin HS) and KJ Cool (senior, Chillicothe, Mo., Newtown Harris R-3 HS) each had 10 points.
“Kevin had a couple of great plays for the team,” said Douma. “As a team, we made some crucial 3-pointers and shot really well during the second.”
Central hosts Buena Vista University (11-5 overall, 3-2 conference) at the P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium on Monday at 8 p.m. The women’s-men’s double-header starts with the women’s game at 6 p.m.