LEBANON — As has often been the case this season, the McKendree University Bearcats were in contention Saturday.
But a second-half lull proved detrimental to the Bearcats as they fell 56-46 to Indianapolis in a Great Lakes Valley Conference game.
It was the 11th consecutive loss for McKendree (7-16 overall, 1-12 GLVC), which shot 29 percent from the field (16-for-55). The undersized Bearcats were 6-for-31 on 3-pointers (19 percent).
"They're a very good defensive team; they put a lot of pressure on the ball," McKendree coach Harry Statham said. "We didn't lose it, but we couldn't get any open looks to speak of. They just took (Clinton) Happe out of the game. He couldn't get a look."
McKendree senior guard John Steppe scored a game-high 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds. But Happe, a junior guard averaging 18.3 points, was limited to a season-low seven points on 3-for-14 shooting and was 0-for-6 from beyond the arc.
The Bearcats, who trailed 28-23 at halftime, were within 37-36 after Steppe made two free throws with 10:09 to play. But McKendree didn't score again until the 5:37 mark on a basket by Happe that made it 44-38.
McKendree closed within 48-44 on Happe's layup with 3:59 remaining, but Indianapolis (17-4, 9-4) held off the Bearcats by scoring eight of the final 10 points in the game.
"They're a really good basketball team," Greyhounds coach Stan Gouard said. "Their record doesn't portray how they really are. They just missed shots."
Junior Leland Brown led Indianapolis with 21 points and nine rebounds. Junior Reece Cheatham had 13 points and seven rebounds. The Greyhounds outrebounded McKendree 51-30.
Despite his team's long losing streak, Statham is upbeat.
"I don't think about it. Really, I don't," said Statham, in his 47th season. "I just look for the next game. I've tried my whole career, pretty much, to not live in the past on the wins. You've got to worry about tomorrow's next game. I've always tried to do that.
"I don't like (losing), obviously. But I don't think about it much. There's next year. There's the next game, there's the next year. Those things maybe make you more competitive and make you appreciate the good things when they come along.
"We'll strive to get better in all areas. We'll be very competitive next year, I guarantee you. Win or lose, you compete. So I'm competing. We're trying hard to win. If we don't, we're going to try harder next game and try to make improvements and be better for it."
Indianapolis 71, McKendree 60
In the women's game, the Bearcats led 43-41 with 17:17 to play in the second half, but Indianapolis went on a 22-6 run over the next seven minutes to take control.
"We're learning how to play through game of momentum, and this is a game of momentum," McKendree coach Melissa Ringhausen said. "It seems to happen in the second half. Teams catch a little bit of momentum and we can't get it back to our side."
Sophomore Caty Ponce, of Edwardsville, and freshman Liz Gilman scored 15 points apiece for McKendree, which fell to 7-14 and 2-11. They combined for eight of the Bearcats' nine 3-pointers. Gilman had a game-best eight rebounds and Ponce had four assists.
Junior Brittany Willis added 10 points for McKendree, which was outscored 42-14 in the paint and shot 37 percent (24-for-65). The Bearcats attempted just four free throws, making three.
Junior Katie McIntosh paced the Greyhounds (15-6, 8-5) with 25 points, while senior Kristin Turner had 19 points and three 3-pointers. Indianapolis, coached by 7-foot-3 Constantin Popa, shot 58 percent (29-for-50).
McKendree trailed just 36-35 at halftime after a sizzling 7-for-16 showing on 3-pointers. Gilman led the barrage with four, while Ponce had two.
The Bearcats opened the game 4-for-17 from the field as they fell behind 17-9 with 10:48 to play in the half. But they sank 10 of their next 16 shots and outscored the Greyhounds 26-19.
"We had a lot of good outside shots in the first half," Ringhausen said. "We didn't get the open looks in the second half that we had in the first half."
The game, however, marked progress for the Bearcats. The lost at Indianapolis 81-39 on Jan. 24.
"We didn't play them real well the first time," Ringhausen said. "We wanted to come out and play McKendree basketball, and I'm very proud of our effort. We're competing with (teams) now. That's not a question. Now we've got to find ways to win."