PELLA — It wasn’t the start the Central College men’s basketball squad was looking for Tuesday night, but the Dutch stayed composed en route to an 86-62 win over Westminster (Mo.).
Central (6-1) fell behind quick, as the Blue Jays (2-3) jumped out to a 9-0 lead, forcing coach Craig Douma to call timeout. But the Dutch answered back, scoring the next 12 points, and did not trail again.
“Our guys responded well out of the timeout,” Douma said. “We showed some maturity and really stuck to our guns.”
The Dutch shot 51 percent from the floor and 35 percent from behind the arc. Central found its 3-point stroke in the second half, knocking down 8-of-19 after only 4-of-15 in the first half.
“We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well in the first half,” Douma said. “Coming out of halftime, I felt like we settled down and shot much better.”
Douma knows that can’t be the case every game.
“We are confident we can play better and will have to this season,” he said. “Tonight wasn’t as sharp as we would like it to be, but there’s room for improvement.”
Central forced the Blue Jays into 19 turnovers and took advantage for 23 points.
“We have been stressing to our guys to create scoring opportunities off turnovers and we did that well tonight,” Douma said.
Junior forward Colby Taylor (Creston) had a game-high 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting, while bringing down five rebounds and dishing out six assists. Junior forward Ryan Kunkel (Solon) was the leading rebounder with 11, adding eight points and three blocks.
Junior guard Pete Walker (Red Oak) tied a career high with 14 points, but it was his four offensive rebounds that stood out to Douma.
“Pete is playing with a lot of passion and excitement right now,” Douma said. “He bailed us out with his offensive rebounding, creating some extra possessions when we needed them.”
Sophomore guard Kyle Smith (Ionia/New Hampton HS) knocked down 4-of-7 seven shots for 14 points.
“Kyle gave us a nice spark off the bench tonight,” Douma said. “When he plays to his strengths, these are the type of performances that will come.”
It will be a quick turnaround for the Dutch, traveling to Des Moines Thursday for a 7:30 p.m. contest with Grand View. The Vikings knocked off Central 79-67 in Pella last season.
“We are going to be challenged by (Grand View’s) athleticism,” Douma said. “Their defensive ball pressure will be intense so we need to focus on taking care of the ball. We have to limit them to one-shot opportunities by doing a great job rebounding on the defensive end.”
Story provided by Central CollegeSports Information Office