LEBANON — Four different players scored in double figures as the McKendree University men's basketball team coasted to a 92-46 victory Tuesday at home against Principia College.
Junior guard Clinton Happe registered a game-high 23 points and dished out five assists as the Bearcats earned their fourth consecutive win. McKendree moves to 4-3 on the season and will look to extend its winning streak on Saturday against MacMurray College. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at the Harry M. Statham Sports Center.
Sophomore guard Mike DiGregorio chipped in with 19 points, including five three-pointers, and added a game-high three steals in the effort for McKendree. Senior guard John Steppe posted his second double-double in three games with 18 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. Junior forward Josh Ramsey came off the bench to add season-high totals of 13 points and nine rebounds for the Bearcats, who are a perfect 4-0 at home so far in 2012-13.
McKendree also used a suffocating defense in the second half to pull away from the visiting Panthers. The Bearcats limited Principia (0-5) to just 21.2 percent shooting (7-of-33) in the final 20 minutes of play. McKendree also scored 23 points off 21 turnovers by the Panthers.
Principia controlled the opening moments of play, building a 6-3 lead before McKendree turned to its long-range shooting to grab the lead for good. DiGregorio sandwiched a pair of three-pointers around a trifecta from Happe to complete a 9-0 run that gave the Bearcats a 12-6 advantage with 13:35 left in the first half. The Panthers tried to chip away at the deficit, pulling within five points before McKendree reeled off 11 consecutive points to stretch its margin to 28-12 midway through the period. Steppe scored the final eight points of the run, which included a pair of three-pointers.
The Bearcats extended its lead to 43-29 at the half before using a fast start in the first five minutes of the second half to put the game out of reach. McKendree outscored Principia 17-2 in the first 5:19 of play to command a 60-31 lead. DiGregorio keyed the burst for the Bearcats, scoring seven points during the stretch. McKendree eventually took its largest lead of the night at 88-37 following a lay-up by Ramsey with 4:38 to play.
Damon Wilgus was the lone Principia player to score in double figures with 15 points, while Stanley Beal pulled down a team-best eight rebounds. McKendree held a 51-34 edge on the boards in the win over the Panthers.
McKendree has now won its last seven games at the Statham Center, which dates back to last season. That is the Bearcats' longest home winning streak since a 12-game tear during the 2009-10 season.