LEBANON — McKendree University's perimeter outlasted Trevecca Nazarene's post Saturday night.
The Bearcats matched a season-high with 12 3-pointers in 26 attempts and overcame the Trojans' 30-12 scoring advantage in the paint to record an 80-70 victory.
"They're a very athletic team," McKendree coach Harry Statham said of the Trojans (1-8). "They've played some good basketball; they've had a tough time winning games. But they've got an athletic team and they're pretty good."
Trevecca had the Bearcats (3-3) on the ropes, leading 41-35 at halftime and 49-39 four minutes into the second half.
But 6-foot-8 freshman Matt Murphy, of Jerseyville, who spent 11 minutes of the first half sitting on the bench with two fouls, scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half.
Murphy was charged with his third foul with 14:51 to play in the game, but he returned to the action with 12:44 left and his 3-pointer with 8:26 to play put McKendree ahead for good at 57-55.
"Coach, at halftime and during the game, kind of called me out because I like responding to criticism," Murphy said. "I think that got me going, wanting to help out. And then just the flow of the game; it was an exciting game."
Murphy was as disappointed as Statham in his second foul, which was a reach-in against junior Eric Orr about 25 feet from the basket. Statham gave Murphy an earful when he reached the bench.
"It was Coach Statham knowing that I'm a smart basketball player," Murphy said. "I was disappointed because I know better and he knows I know better."
The Bearcats closed the game with an 18-8 run as Happe scored eight points. McKendree finished 16-for-21 from the free-throw line after being 0-for-1 in the first half.
Murphy, who finished with three 3-pointers, was joined in double figures by sophomore Mike DiGregorio (22), senior John Steppe (17) and junior Clinton Happe (16). Steppe also had three 3-pointers.
Statham said Murphy will be a solid player.
"He just lacks obvious quickness, but he's going to get better and better as he gets more maturity," Statham said. "He has a good basketball I.Q., he's a good passer, he's got good hands, he can really shoot the perimeter shot. He's going to be a good player.
"We need to surround him with some more players. He's kind of alone now. If we had big guys around him, he would be much better. That's going to happen."
The Bearcats are playing without 6-8 senior David Ruckman, of Freeburg, and 6-0 junior Drew Dudek, of Pinckneyville. Ruckman will have season-ending ankle surgery Monday and Dudek is out with a broken bone in his right hand.
Without them, McKendree has just two bench players, forcing the regulars to play more minutes than Statham prefers.
Steppe and Happe each played 39 minutes, while DiGregorio played 36 minutes and freshman A.J. Schmidt played 31.
"Happe played 40 on Tuesday," Statham said. "We're pretty thin right now. We've got to play smart, that's all. They understand they have to play hard and we can't make stupid plays and foul crazy."
Senior J.P. Nyardo had 21 points for Trevecca and continually burned McKendree in the lane with his athleticism. Senior Maliek Daniels had 20 points and senior Marquise Rudolph had 11.
"(Nyardo) is 6-8 and he's an athletic guy," Statham said. "We don't have a lot of quickness down there and our overall size is small."
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at email@example.com or 239-2665.