Kole Tupa

Kole Tupa had 15 points and eight rebounds Saturday

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — It wasn’t a one-man show Saturday as the Central College men’s basketball team displayed its balance in extending its win streak to three games with a 72-59 victory over Westminster College (Mo.) Saturday in the Webster University (Mo.) Classic.

The 28 points put up by center Joshua Van Gorp (junior, Pella, Pella Christian HS) in a 66-45 rout of Webster Friday triggered extra defensive attention from Westminster (0-4) Saturday. But while the 6-foot, 10-inch post took just three shots in scoring six points, four other players hit double figures for Central (3-2). Guard Kade Terrell (5th-year, Montrose, Colo.) and forward Kole Tupa (junior, Center Point, Center Point-Urbana HS) each had 15 points, with Tupa also grabbing eight rebounds. Point guard Drew Edwards (senior, Eden Prairie, Minn.) had 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds and guard Kaleb Brand (junior, Mount Vernon) scored 10.

“They really made a big effort to send extra guys and not let (Van Gorp) get anything easy,” coach Joe Steinkamp said. “But it was nice that other guys were able to use that against them and step up.

“Edwards was able to turn the corner on some ball screens, Kole Tupa had a really good second half where he scored in transition, on some offensive boards and off some good cuts. He kind of showed his whole game today. And then Kaleb, off the bench, has just been a solid contributor every game. It was a good team win.”

Forward Grant Johnson (senior, Waukee, Van Meter HS) had seven rebounds and four assists while providing a dominant defensive presence with five blocks.

“Grant did an excellent job again, controlling the paint by blocking shots,” Steinkamp said. “Outside of a little run that they made late, we really made it difficult for them to score.”

Down 6-4 in the early going, Central took command with a 15-0 burst over a 7-minute span. The Dutch were up 33-20 at intermission and stretched the lead to as many as 23 points in the second half. Westminster climbed to within 61-52 at the 5:20 mark but drew no closer.

Central outshot Westminster 45.6% to 39.6% and outrebounded the Blue Jays 40-27.

It’s Central’s first three-game win streak since Nov. 30-Dec. 7, 2019. But the Dutch will be challenged Tuesday when they make their sixth road appearance of the young season, traveling to Mankato, Minnesota to meet Bethany Lutheran College (Minn.) in a 7 p.m. game Tuesday. The Vikings are 4-0 after subduing Fontbonne University (Mo.) Friday 95-81.

“Bethany’s really scoring well,” Steinkamp said. “It’ll be a good test for our defense to go against those guys. They play fast.”

Van Gorp was named to the all-tournament team after Central went 2-0 in St. Louis.

“We’re happy with our weekend,” Steinkamp said. “Winning three in a row, the guys are starting to believe. It’s a team that’s fun to be around.”

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