2014 NCAA Div. III tournament qualifier
PELLA—The Central College men’s basketball team scored its most points in a single game since 2004 in a 108-68 blowout of Eureka (Ill.) College Wednesday night.
The Dutch (2-0 overall) shot a sizzling 58.6 percent from the field (41-of-70), 52.2 percent from behind the 3-point arc (12-of-23) and scored 59 second-half points en route to the 40-point victory, all while holding Eureka to 26-of-75 from the field (34.7 percent).
“It was a great team effort on both ends of the floor,” coach Craig Douma said. “Our defense was very good tonight, as was our offense. It was a lot of fun to watch.”
The last time Central scored 108 points or more was Dec. 18, 2004 in a 119-92 win over MacMurray (Ill.). It marks the first time the Dutch have hit triple digits in the Douma era.
Guard Kevin Kaerwer (senior, El Paso, Texas, John L. Chapin HS) scored a game-high 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting, including 5-of-6 from behind the 3-point arc, and forward Matt Greenfield (senior, Huxley, Ballard HS) chipped in 15 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Kaerwer and Greenfield also added seven and five assists, respectively.
“It was a very efficient night,” said Douma. “That’s what I love most about Kevin; he’s an efficient guard. He’s smart and he doesn’t shoot the ball 20 times, but makes the most of his opportunities. Matt put in another solid performance. He goes about his work quietly and continually puts up good numbers.
“The team is off to a good start and it has a lot to do with their play.”
Central held the Red Devils (0-2 overall) to 31 first-half points, shooting 32.4 percent from the field (12-of-37) and connecting on only one 3-pointer (1-of-11). It is the second time in as many games that the Dutch have held their opponent to 31 first-half points.
Through two games Central has held its opponents to 65.5 points per game—nearly 10 points less than it allowed per game last season.
Guards Nile Eckermann (junior, Cosgrove, Clear Creek Amana HS) and Fred Pratt (senior, Rosenberg, Texas, Lamar Consolidated HS) and center Spencer Bakerink (senior, Creston) also reached double digits for a total of five Dutch players with 10 points or more.
Eckermann hit three 3-pointers on his way to 13 points, three assists and two steals, while Pratt and Bakerink each topped out at 10 points. Pratt also had seven assists, while Bakerink secured five rebounds.
“Nile had a nice game and played consistent,” Douma said. “He took good shots when they were there. Spencer had a great ballgame, as well. Fred did a great job of playing under control tonight. When he comes in, our energy picks up. He always seems to find Kevin (Kaerwer) and tonight (Kevin) knocked down the open looks.”
Douma also noted the play of forwards Yaw Sapon-Amoah (senior, Ghana, Africa, Des Moines Christian HS) and Kyle Newendorp (junior, Pella). Yaw shut down Eureka’s top offensive threat to the tune of seven points on 3-of-10 shooting while posting nine points, eight rebounds and one emphatic dunk.
Central dominated points in the paint, scoring 52 to Eureka’s 26. The Dutch also held a 20-rebound advantage over the Red Devils (54-to-34).
“At the beginning of the year I thought we would be good defensively; it was just a question of if we could score enough,” said Douma. “And now we’re seeing that we have some guys that can score. It’s exciting.”
The Dutch emptied the bench, as 14 players saw at least three minutes on the floor and 10 players combined for the final point total—no player scored less than five. Guard Nate Munn (freshman, Ames) came off the bench to play 15 minutes and scored nine points.
“We shot the ball well as a team and we got good bench play,” said Douma. “Nate came in a provided a spark, knocking down two 3-pointers. It was good to see him find his rhythm.”
And while Central put up 108 points, the opportunity to score more was there as the team finished 14-of-23 from the free throw line.
“We’ve got to knock down free throws,” Douma said. “It’s a game-by-game situation and it depends on who gets to the line, but we need to concentrate and shoot better from the line. We just do.”
Central takes five days off before playing host to Cornell College (1-1 overall). Last season the Dutch defeated the Rams 74-71 in Mount Vernon. Cornell fell to Coe College 75-74 after a game-winning shot was waved off Tuesday at Cedar Rapids.