Men's basketball falls to Central at NCAA's
March 7, 2014
STEVENS POINT, Wis. - Kevin Kaerwer had 17 of his game-high 27 points in the first half, as Central College built a 17-point first half lead and defeated No. 25 St. Olaf 85-72 on Friday night in the first round of the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship.
Sterling Nielsen had a team-high 26 points, including 22 in the second half, for the Oles (22-6). St. Olaf used a 16-1 run to cut the Central lead to four, at 59-55, with 8:57 left second half.
Central then scored the next eight points and the game did not get closer than 10 the rest of the way. The Dutch (21-7) did their damage at the free throw line and on the boards. Central was 22-for-30 at the free throw line and held a 43-29 edge in rebounds.
Matt Greenfield added 16 points and 13 rebounds while Nile Eckermann and Spencer Bakerink had 12 points each for Central. Justin Pahl had nine and Riley Aeikens eight points for the Oles.
"It was all about the first four or five minutes of the game," said St. Olaf head coach Dan Kosmoski. "It really set the tone."
The Dutch made 11 of their first 12 field goal attempts and their first four three-pointers on the way to a 27-12 lead. St. Olaf was within 10 but a Kaerwer three in the final seconds capped a 14-7 run to close the half with a 45-28 lead.
St. Olaf had just three turnovers in the first half, but only made one three-pointer. Central was 6-of-10.
The Oles' 22 wins and 17 in MIAC play were each the best in school history. The MIAC Playoff title and NCAA Division III appearance were the first in school history.