2016 NCAA Div. III tournament qualifier
DUBUQUE—Trailing by 12 points with just ten minutes left in the game, the Central College men’s basketball squad narrowly failed to overcome the gap against Loras College Saturday, losing 70-60.
After falling behind after halftime, the Dutch (9-6 overall, 2-2 conference) made an offensive push, outscoring Loras 22-13 and coming within three points with 2:04 minutes remaining. But, Central saw the gap widen as Duhawks made seven free throws in the final minutes.
“We went into today’s game knowing that Loras is a very physical team,” said coach Craig Douma. “I am proud of how we battled towards the end of the game.”
Central saw its field shooting percentage increase from 29.7 percent in the first to 38.7 percent in the second, but saw its 3-point percentage drop nearly 20 percent to a chilly 9.1 percent after halftime.
“We weren’t shooting well from behind the arc,” Douma said. “We weren’t making shots, but we also didn’t shoot the ones we needed down the stretch.”
Guard Kevin Kaerwer (senior, El Paso, Texas, John L. Chapin HS) captured a team-high 14 points and forward Matt Greenfield (senior, Huxley, Ballard HS) had 12 points, 11 rebounds and three assists.
“We challenged Matt at half time and he was big in scoring late in the game,” Douma said.
Forward Colby Taylor (freshman, Creston), guard Fred Pratt (senior, Rosenberg, Texas, Lamar Consolidated HS) and guard Nile Eckermann (junior, Cosgrove, Clear Creek Amana HS) each scored nine points. Pratt also had three assists while center Spencer Bakerink (senior, Creston) led in rebounding with nine boards.
“Loras is a tough team,” said Douma. “In the future when we are facing a team with that level of physicality, we need to shoot better and spread the floor.”
Central hopes to rebound for its next conference game. The Dutch start preparing for a home matchup Wednesday against Simpson College (3-12 overall, 1-3 conference). The game begins at 8 p.m. at the P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium.