2016 NCAA Div. III tournament qualifier
INDIANOLA—After battling back from a 10-point deficit, the Central College men’s basketball squad came up short in the final minute, falling 75-70 at Simpson College Wednesday night.
The Dutch led 70-69 with one minute remaining when Simpson knocked down a jumper to go up one. A Central turnover and fouls sent the Storm to the charity stripe, but the Dutch only trailed by three after Simpson missed two of its four chances. Central had the ball with 11 seconds left but missed back-to-back layups. The Storm snagged the rebound and added another bucket to secure the win.
“Mistakes and turnovers hurt us down the stretch,” coach Craig Douma said. “You can’t do those things and expect to win close ball games.”
Guard Branden Stubbs (junior, Pleasant Hill, Des Moines Christian HS) had a game-high 22 points and five assists. Center Jacob Winkler (senior, Lancaster, Mo., Schuyler R-1 HS) had 14 pounds and six rebounds while forward Matt Greenfield (junior, Huxley, Ballard HS) had 13 points and seven rebounds. Guard Nick Marinkovich (senior, Clarendon Hills, Ill., Hinsdale Central HS) added 11 points.
Central erased a 10-point first-half deficit and was up by four points with 8:34 left. The game featured 12 ties and 13 lead changes. It’s Central’s fourth straight game that has been decided in the final minutes.
“We did a good job getting back into the ball game,” Douma said. “We just aren’t capitalizing. In every game we’re up by one or two at the end but we aren’t finishing.”
The Dutch shot 45 percent from the floor while Simpson shot 50 percent. The Storm reached the free-throw line 23 times compared to Central’s 14 trips.
“We’re getting dinged at the line,” Douma said. “We need to at least even up the attempts. We’ve got to play better defense and get some stops and execute offensively.”
Central travels to Storm Lake Saturday, facing Buena Vista University for the second time in less than a week. The Beavers (13-5 overall, 5-2 conference) outlasted the Dutch 84-80 Monday night.
Saturday’s women’s-men’s doubleheader starts with the women at 5 p.m. The men will tip off around 7 p.m.