Down 26, Central nearly pulls off men’s basketball upset

DUBUQUE—Adam Flinn (junior, St. Louis, Mo., Lafayette HS) went off for a career-high 37 points as the Central College men’s basketball team staged an epic comeback in the final 11 minutes before dropping a frenzied 96-93 decision at Loras College Tuesday in the American Rivers opener for both squads.

Loras (5-1 overall, 1-0 conference), an NCAA Division III tourney participant last year, was seemingly in control, taking a 52-31 halftime lead and padding the margin to as many as 26 at 80-54 with 11:06 left. But then Flinn caught fire, scoring 27 points in a 9-minute span. He had 33 points in the second half. Flinn hit 13 of 18 shots on the night, including 6-of-8 from 3-point range to match the 11th-highest scoring total in Dutch history. His previous best was 24 points at Simpson Feb. 13.

“He did everything well,” coach Craig Douma said. “He was getting catch-and-shoot opportunities but he was also playing well off the bounce.”

Central (1-4 overall, 0-1 conference) clawed to within 92-91 after outscoring the Duhawks 37-12 and had the ball with 14 seconds left and a chance to go for the game-winner, but turned it over, surrendering a fast-break layup to end the surge.

“If we don’t turn the ball over on the inbounds pass, that’s a game I think we win,” Douma said.

Guard Jaden Moody (senior, Cambridge, Ballard HS) had 21 points while guard Sean Kostyk (junior, Cape Coral, Fla., Mariner HS) and freshman forward Keaton Rodgers (Peoria, Ariz., Sandra Day O’Connor HS) each had 10.

Central outshot Loras 55.9% to 52.2 and hit a promising 53.8% from 3-point range. But the Dutch were hampered by 21 turnovers and were outrebounded 36-22. Central had to go with an undersized lineup. Post Thomas Spoehr (sophomore, Bennington, Neb.) remains sidelined indefinitely due to injury and the Dutch compounded their woes by getting into foul trouble in the first half Tuesday. That forced younger players into the lineup including Rodgers, who saw his most extensive action and, at only 6-foot-3, had to fill in at the post.

“I thought Keaton played really well,” Douma said. “He was playing out of position but he came up with some big rebounds down the stretch going up against some bigger dudes.”

Douma also cited the contributions off the bench of guard Marcus Ashford, Jr. (sophomore, Paris, Ky.).

“It doesn’t show up on the stats but he was a spark defensively for us,” Douma said. “He just got after them.”

The final 8 minutes of the first half proved costly. Central trailed 20-18 at the 8-minute mark but was outscored 25-10 the rest of the half.

“I was really disappointed with how we played on both ends of the floor at the end of the half,” Douma said. “In the second half we started playing better defense and then the offense sparked up as a result.”

After five games, Central finally makes its home season debut Saturday with a non-conference game against Gustavus Adolphus College (Minn.). Game time is 5 p.m. at P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium. Central is 0-2 against the Gusties, dropping meetings the past two years including an 81-75 setback at St. Peter, Minnesota last season. Gustavus Adolphus is 1-2 after a Tuesday night contest with Concordia-Moorhead University (Minn.) was postponed due to heavy snow.

“That’s a big one for us,” Douma said. “I thought the guys were really positive tonight in the locker room. They know we’re right there but yet have to keep digging in, playing a little harder and doing things better defensively. If we defend and rebound, we’re going to give ourselves a chance to score.”

Posted by on Nov 27 2019. Filed under College Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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