Central men’s basketball team upsets No. 6 Ramapo

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LAS VEGAS NEV. — After falling behind 20-2 to open the game, the Central College men's basketball team rallied for a 74-69 triumph over No. 6 Ramapo College Friday at the D3Hoops Classic in Las Vegas, Nev.

Both teams struggled at the beginning of the game with neither team scoring a field goal until Ramapo hit a jumper nearly three minutes into the game. However, Ramapo scored in bunches extending its early lead 18-2 before Central called its second timeout of the game.

"I thought we were still going to be ok in the game because we were getting good shots," said coach Craig Douma. "I knew the shots would start falling and they did."

After trading buckets to push the score to 20-4, the Dutch started to find their groove offensively closing the half on a 29-20 run to head into intermission trailing 40-33.

"It's always important to try and battle back and cut it to under 10 at half," said Douma. "We were able to get stops to end the half which is what we needed."
Ramapo stretched its halftime lead to 45-35 with 14:42 left in the game. The Dutch defense clamped down and held the Roadrunners scoreless for four minutes. Back-to-back trifectas gave the Dutch a 53-52 lead with 8:48 left.

"Our defense was huge in the second half," said Douma. "We got stops and were able to continue to get good looks. Kyle and Seth were able to hit some big shots for us."

The Roadrunners tied the game at 54 with just under eight minutes to play before a 3-pointer from Central forward Kyle Smith (Grand River, New Hampton HS) broke the tie. Central never relinquished the lead.

Smith led the way offensively with 23 points, including five triples, grabbed six rebounds and dished five assists. 

Sophomore forward Seth Wood (Branson, Mo.) added 15 points, including four 3-pointers and collected six rebounds.

"Seth did a great job knocking down shots today and he rebounded really well," said Douma.

Senior forward Malik Wildermuth (Normal, Ill., University HS) had 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

"I thought Malik played a heck of a game," said Douma. "He didn't shoot it great in the first half but he came up with some big shots for us down the stretch. He also rebounded the heck out of the ball."

According to Douma, the rebounding was a point of emphasis.

"We challenged our guys over break that we needed one more rebound out of everyone and they responded to the challenge," said Douma.

Central won the rebounding battle, 48-47 and made 17-of-21 from the free throw line.

Senior Jacob Hay (Stanwood, North Cedar HS) gave the Dutch a spark off the bench with seven points. Hay connected on a corner three and knocked down four free throws to ice the game down the stretch.

"Jacob did a great job tonight," said Douma. "He hit a huge three for us and then stepped up and made his free throws at the end of the game."

With the victory, Central improves to 4-7 on the season and Ramapo drops to 9-3.

The victory is the second time in as many years that Central has defeated a team ranked in the top 13 by d3hoops.com with the other being an 84-80 victory over Washington-St. Louis University last season.

The Dutch continue classic play Saturday with a matchup against Pacific Lutheran University at 4 p.m. Pacific Time. A live stream of the game can be found at athletics.central.edu.