GRINNELL—Another robust offensive outburst from Central College forward Caden Mauck (junior, Kansas City, Mo., Blue Springs South HS) and guard Adam Flinn (junior, St. Louis, Mo., Lafayette HS) couldn’t overcome Grinnell College’s rapid-fire attack in a 134-102 men’s basketball loss Wednesday.
After each put up 28 points in a 90-89 victory over Bethany Lutheran College (Minn.) at Pella Saturday, they followed with 27 points each Wednesday night. Mauck also grabbed 15 rebounds for his fifth statistical double-double of the season and the eighth of his Central career. Freshman guard Drake Johnson (Stanton) had 10 points. Guard Marcus Ashford, Jr. (sophomore, Paris, Ky.) had five assists.
But Grinnell (6-3) used its frantic, high-pressure, quick-trigger assault to race to a 79-55 halftime lead. Central (4-5) used its full 15-player varsity roster to try to match the pace, but committed an unsightly 32 turnovers, easily a season-worst.
“I was extremely disappointed in our effort,” coach Craig Douma said.
Central did outshoot the Pioneers, 52.6% to 38.4% and held a 58-53 rebounding advantage, but Grinnell had 28 offensive boards.
“Their size really got to us,” Douma said. “And with the injuries we’ve had, we just didn’t have the depth to play that style. You’ve got to give Grinnell a lot of credit. They played well and they shot it well. Every phase of the game they did well.”
Grinnell connected on 26 of 68 3-pointers, while the Dutch were 2-of-7 from 3-point range. Last year Central didn’t attempt a 3-pointer the entire night and came away with a win over Grinnell at Pella but had to abandon a similar strategy Wednesday after facing such a large second-half deficit.
The experience of Flinn and Mauck showed relative to the rest of Central’s youthful roster.
“They found ways to score,” Douma said. “They’ve been seen this system enough that they understand it. Some of these guys had never played against it before.”
But effort was lacking as well, he said.
“This has got to be a lesson that we learn,” Douma said. “You’ve got to be prepared mentally to play hard every game.”
The results won’t be kind to Central’s season defensive statistics, which were already skewed by a 145-140 Nov. 9 loss to Greenville University (Ill.), which employs the same racehorse style.
Following fall semester exams and a break for Christmas, the Dutch reassemble for a trip to the D3hoops.com Classic at South Point Arena in Las Vegas Dec. 27-28 and a pair of first-ever meetings. Central tackles the College of St. Scholastica (Minn.) Dec. 27 at 10 p.m. (Central Time). The Saints are 3-6 with one game remaining before Christmas. The following night Central takes on New Jersey City University, also at 10 p.m. The Gothic Knights stand 4-3 with two games ahead before opening their Las Vegas trip against the Dutch.
“Tonight was something we just have got to forget about,” Douma said. “We’ve got to go to practice and get back to the basics of our defense and keep working on our offensive fundamentals. We’re got to work on conditioning and get shots up, then come back ready to go.”