Another nail-biter, another heartbreaker
Nathaniel Smith logged a double-double Saturday
Nathaniel Smith logged a double-double Saturday
Sat, Jan. 19, 2013 - [Men's Basketball]

Central, 77

Loras, 75


The Duhawks men's basketball team was looking to erase some early IIAC-season memories on Saturday evening when the Central Dutch took the AWC floor. Unfortunately, the guests spoiled a solid effort in many regards by Loras with a quick start to the second half, eventually breaking the game's final tie with four minutes to play and taking the victory. 


Plenty went right for the Duhawks in the first half, as the hosts erased an early lead by Central and closed the half on a 14-6 run. They shot over 40% from the field and knocked down four three-pointers, scoring nine second chance points on their way to a +10 effort on the glass in the first 20 minutes.


Central used the longball to get back in the game early in the second half and forced a knockdown, drag out fight for the final 15 minutes with their quick start. The teams would trade the lead seven times and be tied another six over the course of the second half.


With Nathaniel Smith's jumper at the four minute mark, the teams were tied at 69-69. The Dutch were up 74-70 when Alex Cline rallied the Duhawks to within one point. He grabbed an offensive rebound on a missed free throw and quickly made it a two point game. After a pair of Central free throws returned the lead to four points, Cline got a good look with 90 seconds to go and drained a three-pointer to make it 77-75.


After a Loras timeout, Central's Matt Greenfield would convert a front-end free throw with nine seconds to play, only to miss the second – the Dutch's first miss from the charity stripe of the game. Loras decided to go with the rebound following the second free throw and Cline was again in position for a late-game shot. The junior's effort was off to the left from near the top of the key as the Central defense scrambled to disrupt Cline's rhythm. The shot was from behind the arc and would have won the game.


Jake Rutan was the Duhawks' leading scorer on Saturday and finished with 15 points and seven rebounds. Nathaniel Smith finished with a double-double – 14 points and 10 rebounds. Cline joined them in double figures with 13 points and was one rebound shy of a double-double.


A busy week continues for the Duhawks on Monday night when the Wartburg Knights (11-5, 4-1) come to the AWC. Loras will then host Dubuque on KCRG 9.2 on Wednesday night before a trip to Waverly for a rematch with the Knights on January 26.