McKendree drops third straight, sees postseason hopes dwindle

News-DemocratFebruary 17, 2014 

— Clinton Happe's good look at the basket didn't translate into positive results for McKendree University on Monday.

Happe's potential game-tying 3-pointer from the left wing with about one second to play caromed off the rim, enabling Maryville University to escape with a 75-72 victory in a Great Lakes Valley Conference game postponed by bad weather Jan. 5.

"Those plays, you hope they work," McKendree coach Harry Statham said. "The percentage isn't very high, but (Happe) did a nice job. He got a good look. ... It would have been great if he had made that shot and put it in overtime."

McKendree (9-14 overall, 3-12 GLVC) led 70-69 after Happe made two free throws with 2:22 to play. Senior Asa Toney put the Saints (12-11, 6-9) on top 71-70 with two free throws with 2:01 left.

Bearcats sphomore Matt Murphy missed an open 3 from the left corner, and Maryville called timeout with 1:16 remaining.

Junior Armon Provo sank two free throws to extend the Saints' lead to 73-70 with 58.4 seconds left, but junior Mike DiGregorio's driving layup brought the Bearcats within 73-72 with 48 seconds to play.

Maryville called timeout with 29.5 seconds to play, and after the break, Provo missed a 3-pointer from the left corner. But Toney pulled down the offensive rebound, and DiGregorio fouled Provo, who made two free throws with 6.5 seconds left to make it 75-72.

McKendree called a timeout, and DiGregorio then dribbled to midcourt and called another timeout. Maryville, trying to foul, then watched as Happe's shot rimmed out.

"We were trying to foul to keep them from being able to shoot a 3 there, but didn't get the call," said Maryville coach Kevin Carroll, whose team has dropped six games by six or fewer points. "We had guys who were very determined to get this win, and I'm proud of them for the way they played the second half."

Happe, playing the final home game of his career, paced McKendree with 18 points. Junior Logan Carson had 15 and DiGregorio and senior Will Kirksey had 12 apiece. The Bearcats made eight 3-pointers --all of them in the first half.

McKendree's interior defense was toothless, as it permitted the Saints to score 42 points in the paint compared to the Bearcats' 22. Maryville shot 53 percent (29-for-55), and all five of its starters scored in double figures, led by Toney's 20 points.

"They're a good team," Statham said. "We had a little trouble with mismatches on defense and they exploited those pretty well."

The loss, the Bearcats' third in a row, dealt them another setback in their goal of making the GLVC Tournament. They have three road games remaining and need to win them all to have a chance.

"They all count the same --first game, last game. They all count the same. They're all good teams," Statham said. "Who's to say who's better? They all hurt. There's never a fun loss. I feel like our kids battled hard, and that's about it. Things happen. A missed shot here, a missed pass there, a turnover here, a breakdown there."

Carson had 11 points and three 3-pointers in the first half as McKendree led 41-34 at the break. The Bearcats had 13 points off nine Maryville turnovers and outscored the Saints in the paint 22-8.

Carson, a high-flyer from Du Quoin, made a 3 from the right wing to tie the game at 17. McKendree fell behind 19-17, but Kirksey dropped in back-to-back baskets to make it 21-17.

The score was knotted at 23 when McKendree went on an 8-0 run that started with Happe's free throw. Carson culminated the drive with a 3-pointer to make it 31-23 at the 4:43 mark.

DiGregorio's 3 boosted the Bearcats' bulge to 34-25 with 2:55 to play, and Happe canned another 3 --McKendree's eighth of the half --to make it 37-27 with 1:56 remaining.

Women's basketball

Maryville 77, McKendree 67

Maryville used a 12-3 run early in the second half to pull away and hand McKendree its eighth loss in a row and its 13th in 14 games.

The Bearcats fell to 7-16 overall and 2-13 in the GLVC. Maryville, which has won five of six, improved to 15-10 and 8-7.

Sophomore guard Jordynn Martin sparked Maryville to a 50-34 advantage with a 3-pointer and a layup, and the Bearcats trailed by at least 10 points for the remainder of the second half.

Senior Brittany Fish had 16 points off the bench to lead the Saints, who also collected 14 points and eight rebounds from senior Erica Lorton and 11 points from junior Shelby Miller. Neither Fish nor Norton was in Maryville's starting lineup.

Four players reached double figures for the Bearcats, led by junior Danielle Amann-Stewart (17), a Mascoutah High graduate. Junior Caty Ponce, of Edwardsville, had 15 points, senior Brittany Willis chipped in with 12 and freshman Amber Alexander had 11.

Ponce is tied with Katie Fullerton fot 10th place on the all-time Bearcats scoring list with 1,200 points.

McKendree trailed 38-31 at the intermission as Maryville received most of its production from nonstarters. Saints reserves were accountable for 28 points, nearly outscoring the Bearcats.

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 239-2665. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidMWilhelm.

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