2014 NCAA Div. III tournament qualifier
DUBUQUE — The Central College men’s basketball team has endured a series of last-minute losses but there was little suspense Saturday as the Dutch were overwhelmed at Dubuque, 69-50.
Dubuque (17-6 overall, 7-5 Iowa Conference) never trailed, bursting to an 11-3 lead before going up 38-20 at the break. The Spartans, who were stopped by Central 61-58 at Pella Jan. 16, led by as many as 27 points in the second half.
It was a frustrating day on both ends of the floor for Central (9-13 overall, 2-10 conference), which shot just 35.2 percent from the field, including 11.1 percent (2-18) from 3-point range, and committed 16 turnovers. Dubuque hit 48.2 percent of its shots and held a commanding 45-30 rebounding advantage.
“We couldn’t buy a basket,” coach Craig Douma said. “It wasn’t that we weren’t getting good looks. We had shots inside and outside. We just didn’t finish.”
Forward Matt Greenfield (junior, Huxley, Ballard HS) had 13 points and five rebounds before fouling out. Forward Jacob Winkler (senior, Lancaster, Mo., Schuyler R-1 HS) added 12 points, six rebounds, three blocks and three steals and guard Branden Stubbs (junior, Pleasant Hill, Des Moines Christian HS) had 11 points.
Central’s offensive struggles affected its defensive showing as well, Douma said.
“Overall, our intensity was not what it should have been,” he said. “But Dubuque played well. They did some good things.”
Central’s losing streak was extended to seven games but the Dutch are still in a three-way battle for the sixth and final conference tournament berth with two games remaining. Loras gained an advantage with a 74-56 victory over Simpson Saturday, improving to 3-9. Simpson is tied with Central at 2-10. Those are the two opponents left on the Dutch schedule. Loras comes to Pella Wednesday for a women’s-men’s doubleheader, with the men’s game tipping off at 8 p.m. at P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium. Simpson visits on Saturday in the regular-season finale. Central defeated Loras at Dubuque Jan. 19, 77-75.
“It’s on us,” Douma said. “We’ve got two games left and they’re at home. It’s going to take a total campus effort. We need our student body to come out and help pick these guys up. They need that right now. But it’s also on our shoulders.”