Frantic Central men’s basketball comeback falters in season opener

CLEVELAND, OHIO—Down seven with just a minute remaining, the Central College men’s basketball team got a good look at a last-second game-winner before dropping a 96-94 season-opening decision to Case Western Reserve University (Ohio) Friday night.

The Dutch (0-1) got a career-high 26 points from sophomore forward Thomas Spoehr (Bennington, Neb.) while forward Caden Mauck (junior, Kansas City, Mo., Blue Springs HS) posted a double-double with 14 points and 11 boards. Central was taking on the host school in the George Sudeck Tournament and now meet Greenville University (Ill.) in Saturday’s consolation game at 1 p.m Eastern Time (noon Central Time). Greenville was outscored by Centre College (Ky.) 132-113 earlier Friday.

After Central sliced the lead to 3 points in the closing seconds, Case Western Reserve intentionally fouled guard Kade Terrell (sophomore, Montrose, Colo.) to prevent a 3-point try. Terrell swished the first free throw, then his intentional miss caromed off a Spartans player out-of-bounds with 3 seconds left. Junior transfer guard Sean Kostyk (Cape Coral, Fla., Mariner HS) was able to get off a 3-point shot that bounced off the rim as time expired.

“We just put that set in,” coach Craig Douma said. “They were denying Thomas (Spoehr) but Thomas did a great job at screening up and we got a good look at a 3. We were really going for a 2, but when Sean gets a good look at a 3, you’ve got to give it to him”

But Douma was less than pleased with what preceded the Central comeback.

“I was really disappointed in our defense tonight,” he said. “It’s hard to explain. I don’t have an answer. But we’ve got to be better.”

Central burst out to an early11-point lead and was up most of the first half but trailed at the break 44-43. Case Western Reserve appeared to take control in the second half and was up 78-67 with 7:42 remaining, but the Dutch persisted and nearly erased the gap.

Central placed five players in double figures but the Spartans countered with six. The Dutch got 17 points from senior all-conference guard Jaden Moody (Cambridge, Ballard HS) while Kostyk had 15 in his Central debut and guard Adam Flinn (junior, Wildwood, Mo., Lafayette HS) had 14.

Central held a 45-43 rebounding advantage and outshot the Spartans, 46.4% to 42.0%. But Case Western Reserve hit 25 of 32 free throws while Central was 19-of-28.

“We committed way too many fouls,” Douma said. “We didn’t shoot free throws well and we fouled too much.”

Central has less than 18 hours to prepare for high-scoring Greenville, which runs the 3-point heavy system offense similar to Grinnell College.

“It’s going to be a short turnaround and a difficult team to prepare for,” Douma said.

Posted by on Nov 9 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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