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Column

Sturtz is shining at Drake

Former Newton Cardinal Garrett Sturtz had a monster game for the Drake men’s basketball team on Tuesday night.

The Bulldogs fell a bit short on the road against Loyola, but Sturtz had 17 points, eight rebounds, four steals and two blocks. He was 6-of-8 from the floor and 4-of-5 from the free-throw line.

It was only the 26th time this season that an NCAA Division I player scored 17 points, grabbed eight rebounds, swiped four steals and blocked two shots and the first Bulldog to do it in a non-overtime game in at least a decade, according to Drake University Sports Information Director Ty Patton.

Sturtz is quickly becoming one of the most consistent players on the Bulldogs’ roster. He has only started five games and hasn’t taken more than eight shots in any game this year but averages 24 minutes, 7.3 points and six rebounds per game.

Sturtz is making 66 percent of his shots from the floor and is 43-of-54 in the team’s last 11 games. He has gone 11 straight games of two of fewer misses in a game.

He has led the team in scoring twice and led the team in rebounds and steals seven times each.

His season high for points was 18 against Southern Illinois and his 17 against Loyola on Tuesday was his second best of the season. He has scored in double-figures in seven of the team’s last 11 games.

Sturtz wasn’t a bad rebounder in high school, but I think I have been most impressed with his ability to rebound the basketball at the next level. He’s a 6-foot-3 guard who averages six boards per contest. That’s fantastic.

Against Lehigh this season, Sturtz pulled down an incredible 14 rebounds.

Sturtz played 30 minutes in the 64-60 road loss to Loyola on Tuesday night.

The Bulldogs’ next game and final home contest of the season comes against Missouri Valley Conference leader Northern Iowa at 5 p.m. on Saturday at the Knapp Center in Des Moines.

The plan for me right now is to catch up with Sturtz and former Cardinal teammate Connor Gholson after the game. Gholson is working his way back from a leg injury and has played in seven games this season.

It’s a big MVC game for both UNI and Drake. The Bulldogs are 18-12 overall and 8-9 in league play. A win at home would even their conference mark at 9-9. Drake is 14-1 at home this season.

For the Panthers, they need to continue to win to keep an at-large NCAA tournament berth in their plans if they don’t win Arch Madness in St. Louis. UNI has not lost at home but is 7-4 on the road.

The Knapp Center is a fun place to watch a basketball game. I am looking forward to catching a great instate basketball game and then catching up with two of the greateast hoops player to come through the Newton system.

Speaking of fun place to watch sports, if you were inside Wells Fargo Arena for the state wrestling championships on Saturday, you probably had a ton of fun.

The night started with the Hall of Fame inductees and the grand march. Dan Gable got things going on the mat and there were plenty of high-level championship bouts in all three classes.

A wrestler was denied his fourth state title in the final seconds. Lisbon’s Cael Happel claimed his fourth state title and several others continued to be on pace for four in the coming years.

Jasper County had a finalist as Newton senior Gage Linahon cruised to the Class 3A 220-pound final with a pair of pins and a major decision in his first three matches.

Linahon did not win the championship against top-ranked Waverly-Shell Rock’s Brayden Wolf but a 33-2 season with both losses coming to Wolf is something to be proud of.

Linahon ends his career as a two-time medalist, he has two top-three finishes and won 108 matches.

Prairie City-Monroe’s Colby Tool is now a three-time medalist for the Mustangs. He will try to become the school’s second four-timer next season but wants to end his career at the top of the podium.

Tool finished seventh this year at state but never really got going fully after suffering a leg injury in the football playoffs.

Our winter season officially ended on Tuesday.

Next up is the busy grind of the spring season. It’s not my favorite few months but only because it’s so darn busy. The Drake Relays will be here before we know it. Then the incredibly busy month of May follows.

Contact Troy Hyde at
thyde@newtondailynews.com

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