JACKSONVILLE, ILL.— Despite making some defensive strides, the Central College men’s basketball team was hampered by an inefficient offense in a 73-62 loss to unbeaten Carroll University (Wis.) Friday.
Competing in the Bill Merris Tournament hosted by Illinois College, the Dutch (0-3) found themselves down five points just over 2 minutes into the game and never led. They trailed by as many as 16 points in the second half and were down 37-23 at the break.
“Offensively we struggled, especially in the first half,” coach Craig Douma said. “We dug ourselves a hole.”
The Dutch play in the third-place game Saturday at 2 p.m. against the loser of Friday night’s contest between Illinois College and Lincoln Christian University (Ill.).
Central had three of its starters sitting on the bench with foul trouble much of the first half and was also without center Thomas Spoehr (sophomore, Bennington, Neb.), who averaged 18.0 points last weekend but is injured and didn’t make the trip.
Yet the Dutch clawed their way back, cutting the lead to 60-54 with 5:36 left on a Jaden Moody (senior, Cambridge, Ballard HS) layup. But with a chance to climb closer, Central committed one of its 20 turnovers.
“We hung in there and gave ourselves a chance to win,” Douma said. “But when we got close, I thought we took some bad shots.
“Carroll is a good team and they play really good defense. They really bothered our offense in the first half. But we made some adjustments at halftime and got to the hole much better in the second half.”
Forward Caden Mauck (junior, Kansas City, Mo., Blue Springs South HS) had 17 points and five rebounds while guard Sean Kostyk (junior, Cape Coral, Fla., Mariner HS) had 14 points on just six shots and guard Adam Flinn (junior, St. Louis, Mo., Lafayette HS) had 13 points and five rebounds.
“Caden played very well,” Douma said. “And he did it on both ends of the floor. He also got some big rebounds. Sean Kostyk also played well. We’ve just got to get him more shots.”
Douma also cited forward John Fuhr (sophomore, Macomb, Ill.), who contributed 12 minutes off the bench in helping to fill in for Spoehr on the front line.
After surrendering more than 90 points in each of the first two games, Douma said the Dutch guarded better Friday.
“We played well defensively,” he said.
Central was outrebounded 33-31 but the lack of offensive efficiency was the difference. The Dutch were outshot 49.0% to 39.6% and had numerous empty possessions.
“We just can’t have 20 turnovers,” Douma said. “And veteran players had most of them. We’ve got to be better than that.”