Central College issued the following announcement on Dec. 7.
In a scrappy battle of undersized lineups, the Central College men's basketball team held off Bethany Lutheran College (Minn.) 90-89 Saturday as forward Caden Mauck (junior, Kansas City, Mo., Blue Springs South HS) and guard Adam Flinn (junior, St. Louis, Mo., Lafayette HS) each rattled home 28 points.
Mauck also had a career-high 18 rebounds while Flinn had seven boards with five assists.
The Dutch (4-4) got off to fast starts each half, but Bethany Lutheran's quickness melted the leads away. Central was up 21-12 just under the 10-minute mark, only to get outscored 19-4 and trail 35-25 6 minutes later before taking a 38-36 advantage into the break.
It was 52-44 Central with 16:29 left in the game but even at 55-55 3 minutes later. The Dutch saw an 83-73 lead with 3:04 vanish after an 11-1 Bethany Lutheran run, but Flinn scored six points in the final minute, putting Central up 89-86 with 23 seconds left. A Mauck free throw with 10 seconds remaining allowed the Dutch to survive a last-second 3-pointer.
Bethany Lutheran sophomore guard Cire Mayfield, a conference MVP as a freshman, had 22 points despite being limited to 21 minutes of action due to foul trouble.
"I was very pleased, especially defensively, with how we got started in both halves," coach Craig Douma said. "I know they scored some points but Bethany is a really good basketball team and they can score. I just felt good about our defensive mindset. Our guys did a great job of executing."
Guard Sean Kostyk (junior, Cape Coral, Fla., Mariner HS) had only five points but Douma said he drew a lot of defensive attention.
"It gave Caden Mauck a lot of opportunities because he was isolated," Douma said. "It was great to see Caden step up tonight. You could see his confidence grow. He's developing. He's rebounding the heck out of the ball right now and he's finding ways to score."
Flinn was coming off a 29-point showing in a 92-79 win over Wartburg College Wednesday night.
"Adam was just being Adam," Douma said. "He made one of those big plays when we needed him to down the stretch. That was huge."
Others contributed in the clutch as well.
"Drake Johnson (freshman, Stanton) made some plays," Douma said. "I thought one of the plays of the game was when he made a steal and then went coast-to-coast and finished in traffic. That was a huge play. And Keaton Rodgers (freshman, Peoria, Ariz., Sandra Day O'Connor HS) hit a big three at a crucial part of the game. Those aren't normal plays that freshmen make.
"It was fun to see different guys step up for us down the stretch and make plays for us to get this win."
Central was playing without all-conference guard Jaden Moody (senior, Cambridge, Ballard HS), the team's lone senior, and is already without starting post Thomas Spoehr (sophomore, Bennington, Neb.). Moody was injured Wednesday and Spoehr was sidelined earlier. Neither is expected back soon. But the Dutch still held a commanding 45-31 rebounding advantage, including a lopsided 15-2 edge in offensive boards.
"You take an all-conference guard off the floor, a guy who's good for 17 or 19 points a game, you've got to find other ways to score," Douma said. "We had guys step up."
Central shot 60.0% in the second half and 46.3% for the game despite hitting only 31.3% from 3-point range. Bethany Lutheran shot 53.7%.
It was the fourth straight year that the Dutch have emerged with a win on the program's Alumni Weekend.
"Alumni Weekend continues to be very special for us," Douma said.
Central closes its pre-Christmas slate Wednesday with a non-conference game at Grinnell College. The Dutch outscored Grinnell at Pella a year ago, 105-96, and holds a 10-2 lead in the teams' series. The Pioneers are 5-3 after racing past Knox College (Ill.) 115-93 and are averaging 117.8 points a game.
"We've got to get ourselves prepared," Douma said. "We'll have to play 10-12 guys so it's going to take a big-time team effort. We want to finish the pre-Christmas schedule the right way."
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