DECORAH — Central College put the defensive clamps on Luther College down the stretch, scoring the game’s final 16 points in a come-from-behind 73-65 men’s basketball road victory Wednesday.
Trailing 65-57 with 5:19 remaining, Luther (0-3) was held scoreless the rest of the way. A 3-pointer by guard Sam Beatty (sophomore, Mount Pleasant) tied it at 65-65 at the 3:32 mark, then back-to-back buckets by guard Adam Flinn (senior, St. Louis, Mo., Lafayette HS) put the Dutch (2-1) on top to stay for their second straight victory.
“Defense won that game,” coach Craig Douma said. “It was unreal. We really took them out of their offense.”
Flinn, who suffered through a 0-for-6 first half, recorded 15 second-half points and was Central’s top scorer. Forward Caden Mauck (senior, Kansas City, Mo., Blue Springs South HS) had 13 points and six rebounds while guard Drew Edwards (sophomore, Eden Prairie, Minn.) had seven rebounds and three assists.
“Caden Mauck carried us in the first half,” Douma said. “Drew Edwards played great defense and had just one turnover in 20 minutes. Kole Tupa (freshman, Center Point, Center Point-Urbana HS) gave us some great minutes off the bench. And Adam Flinn showed some senior leadership tonight. He didn’t shoot well in the first half but he persevered and came back with a good second half, which is a sign of maturity.”
Central bolted to a 13-5 lead with 15:50 left in the first half, only to have Luther tie it with an 8-0 run. The Dutch were again up eight at 25-17 with 8:24 left but Luther had a 36-34 halftime advantage and was up most of the second half, including a 63-54 margin with 7:07 remaining.
“At halftime we only had two points combined from Adam Flinn, Drake Johnson (sophomore, Stanton) and Sam Beatty,” Douma said. “But in the second half, they had 25.”
Luther outshot Central 43.5% to 41.8% but the Dutch held a 42-35 edge on the glass and committed just seven turnovers.
“We weren’t making shots,” Douma said. “We wanted to take 25 3-point shots and we took 29, but we only made nine. But we kept believing. It was a great team win.”
The Dutch take on Buena Vista University at home Saturday. Game time is 7 p.m. at P.H. Kuyper Gymnasium. The Beavers are 5-1 overall and 4-1 in the American Rivers after escaping 72-71 at Coe College in Cedar Rapids Wednesday night.