McKnight’s 26 sparks Central in men’s basketball win

Central Dutch Athletics

Central Dutch Athletics

PELLA—Flashing the form that earned him all-conference recognition last year, guard Jamel McKnight (senior, Austin, Texas, Hendrickson HS) erupted for a season-high 26 points and seven assists as torrid shooting propelled the Central College men’s basketball team past the University of Wis.-La Crosse 89-77 Saturday.

Avenging a loss to the Eagles a year ago, Central (2-5) shot 56.7 percent from the field in racing to a 46-34 halftime lead and hit 53.2 percent for the game. McKnight was 11 of 18 from the floor and also had two steals.

Sophomore guard Adam Flinn (Wildwood, Mo., Lafayette HS) added 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists while sophomore forward Caden Mauck (Kansas City, Mo., Blue Springs South HS) had 11 points and five boards.

“The last two games, Jamel (McKnight) has really stepped up,” coach Craig Douma said. “Both he and Adam Flinn played a whale of a ballgame. We were able to play off them and we really shared the ball.”

Central, still without injured starting forward Jaden Moody (junior, Cambridge, Ballard HS), held a commanding 39-26 rebounding advantage and had 19 assists to 11 turnovers.

“That rebound total was huge, especially against a team that rebounds the ball well,” Douma said.

Wis.-La Crosse (3-3) shot 46.0 percent from the field, including just 39.4 percent in the first half.

Trailing 19-18 with 11:06 left in the first half, Central went on an 8-0 run and led the rest of the way, extending the margin to as many as 14 points before intermission. The Dutch were up by double-digits the entire second half in the surprisingly decisive victory.

It was Alumni Weekend for the men’s basketball program as Central recognized its 1,000-point club members. The team joined the grads at a dinner Friday night and Douma said it gave the Dutch a boost.

“Having the alumni around is so much fun,” he said. “They bring a lot of energy and we feed off of that. Honoring the 1,000-point scorers made it a really special event.”

It was one of the season’s top performances for Central’s rapidly improving young squad.

“This team is growing up,” Douma said. “We’re getting better, we’re getting confident and we’re playing with more confidence.

“We had great ball movement and great player movement. And we were able to adjust and make changes as the game went on.”

Central returns to American Rivers Conference play Wednesday, taking on Coe College in a women’s-men’s doubleheader at Cedar Rapids, with the men tipping off at 8 p.m. Coe is 4-3 overall and 1-1 in the league after knocking off Wartburg College 80-78 at Waverly Saturday. The Kohawks lost a pair of games to Central last year in a 9-16 season but picked up a pair of talented transfers for this year’s squad.

“They’re a nice ballteam,” Douma said. “They’ve got a lot of different ways to score and they’ve got good size. It will be a tough game for us over there.”

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Posted by on Dec 2 2018. 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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