2016 NCAA Div. III tournament qualifier
PELLA—Central College raced to 15-4 lead and never relinquished it, making Craig Douma a winner in his first collegiate debut Thursday with a 96-82 win over Monmouth College (Ill.).
Forward Matt Greenfield (junior, Huxley, Ballard HS) had a game-high 31 points while guard Branden Stubbs (junior, Pleasant Hill, Des Moines Christian HS) had 21. Guard Nick Marinkovich (senior, Clarendon Hills, Ill., Hinsdale Central HS) had 17 points and center Jacob Winkler (senior, Lancaster, Mo., Schuyler R-1 HS) had 11.
The Dutch shot 55 percent from the floor, including 31.3 percent from 3-point range, and jumped to a 47-30 halftime lead.
“We ran the floor and had them really tired,” Douma said. “Our transition game was outstanding tonight.”
Monmouth whittled Central’s lead to seven points in the last three minutes, but the Dutch knocked down 6-of-6 free throws to secure the win.
“We shot free throws well down the stretch,” Douma said. “But I wasn’t happy with our defense. It was a game at the end because we didn’t rebound.”
Greenfield added 11 rebounds for his first career double-double. He made 12-of-16 field goals (75 percent) and was 6-of-6 at the free-throw line.
“Matt had a heck of a game,” Douma said. “He created a mismatch all night and our players got the ball to him. He finished around the basket and hit some big shots under pressure.”
Stubbs had eight assists and Winkler had six.
“Branden did a lot of good things for us in his first time out,” Douma said. “He kind of ran the show the first half.”
Central had contributions from 12 players. Douma noted center Spencer Bakerink (junior, Creston), who had six rebounds.
“He came in and stabilized us when we weren’t rebounding well,” Douma said. “Those were key minutes off the bench.”
Central outrebounded Monmouth 38-31. The Fighting Scots shot 44.4 percent from the floor.
“It was a good start for us but there are things to work on,” Douma said.
Central meets Fontbonne University (Mo.) Saturday at 3 p.m. at P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium in Pella.