2016 NCAA Div. III tournament qualifier
SIOUX CENTER—Three Central College players scored 20 points or more in an 88-74 win over Northwestern (Iowa) College in the opening game of the Dordt College/Holiday Inn Express Classic at Sioux Center Friday night.
Playing each other for the first time since Nov. 23, 2002, the Dutch (3-1 overall) scored 44 points in both halves, shooting 51.8 percent from the field (29-of-56) and a scorching 59.1 percent from 3-point range (13-of-22) en route to the 14-point victory.
Forward Matt Greenfield (senior, Huxley, Ballard HS) scored a game-high 28 points on 9-of-14 shooting, including 23 in the first half, and hauled in a game-high 10 rebounds. It was his third double-double in four games this season. Guard Nile Eckermann (junior, Cosgrove, Clear Creek Amana HS) scored a career-high 25 points while connecting on 7-of-9 3-point attempts and guard Kevin Kaerwer (senior, El Paso, Texas, John L. Chapin HS) netted 20, including 6-of-6 from the free throw line, and chipped in a game-high seven assists.
No Dutch trio had scored at least 20 points apiece in a single game in more than a decade and tonight marked only the fourth time a Dutch duo has scored 25-plus points in a game, the last being Mark Holan and Miguel Ley with 26 points apiece in a 99-79 win over Buena Vista Feb. 27, 2010.
“Matt had a spectacular game,” coach Craig Douma said. “We took advantage of what we thought their weaknesses were and we took great shots. Kevin and Nile really stepped up in the second half. They made shots, attacked the rim and shot free throws well. We know what Nile is capable of doing, especially from behind the arc, and tonight he showed it. He did a great job defensively, as well.”
It was Central’s first win in the series since Dec. 1, 1995, a 71-69 win over the Red Raiders at Pella.
Three nights after connecting on only 5-of-21 shots from behind the arc, Central made its most 3-pointers in a game this season while shooting a season-high percentage.
Defensively the Dutch held Northwestern (5-6 overall) to 38.2 percent from the field (26-of-68) and a mere 27.8 percent (5-of-18) from beyond the arc.
“We got stops and boards and they couldn’t stop us,” said Douma. “I couldn’t be more proud of our effort tonight.”
Central led 44-39 at the break after Eckermann hit his third 3-pointer of the half as time expired. Northwestern led twice in the first—2-0 at 19:49 and 4-3 at 18:59—and tied the game 39-39 with 1:07 remaining, but trailed the rest of the way.
“We showed some serious toughness and a lot of resilience down the stretch,” Douma said. “We started fast, but we let them back into it. The 3-pointer at the end of the half was absolutely huge. We defended well, rebounded well and we scored. It was a great night all the way around.”
Although other performances may be lost in the stat sheet, Douma was quick to point out the play of the Dutch bench, namely forward Kyle Newendorp (junior, Pella). Newendorp played 24 minutes and recorded six points, two rebounds and two steals.
The Dutch close out competition at the classic Saturday against host Dordt (8-1 overall) Saturday at 4 p.m. The two teams last played Dec. 20, 2003, a 77-74 victory for the Defenders at Pella. Dordt opened classic play Friday against AIB following Central’s game against Northwestern.