The McKendree University men’s basketball team led for most of its non-conference contest Saturday afternoon at Trevecca Nazarene University, but the host Trojans rallied to pick up a 74-70 overtime win over the Bearcats.
Freshman center Nolan Gerling (Mater Dei) led all players with 33 points and 22 rebounds to show the way for McKendree, which slips to 2-2 on the year. Sophomore guard Nate Michael returned after missing the last two games due to injury to add 16 points in the effort for the Bearcats. Senior guard Kyle Yates helped out with team-high totals of four assists and five steals.
The loss snapped a three-game win streak for McKendree on Trevecca Nazarene’s home floor. The two teams will meet again Dec. 10 at the Harry M. Statham Sports Center.
McKendree took a 60-54 lead with 2:58 left in regulation thanks to a three-point field goal by senior forward Darin Winkelman. A free throw by Yates with 1:30 on the clock extended the Bearcats’ advantage to 61-54, but Trevecca Nazarene was able to force the extra period by scoring the last seven points of the second half. Donovan Donaldson’s two foul shots with 14 seconds remaining in regulation capped the 7-0 burst that sent the teams to overtime tied at 61-61.
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Five consecutive points from Michael in the first 75 seconds of overtime pushed McKendree out to a 66-61 lead. The Trojans responded with a 9-1 run to take the lead for good at 70-67 with just over a minute left to play. Gerling sank two free throws with 24.1 seconds remaining to bring the Bearcats back within 70-69, but two free throws and a breakaway lay-up by Trevecca Nazarene over the next 15 seconds helped seal the come-from-behind win for the Trojans.
Gerling had 17 points and seven rebounds in the first half as McKendree fought its way to a 27-22 lead at the intermission. The Bearcats led throughout the entire first period, which was a defensive battle that saw the Bearcats shoot 29.4 percent (10-of-34) from the field and Trevecca Nazarene connect on 28.1 percent (9-of-32) of its tries from the floor.
McKendree was able to maintain its advantage in the early stages of the second half before a run of six consecutive points pushed Trevecca Nazarene in front for the first time at 42-39 with 12:19 left in the period. The half featured five ties and six lead changes as McKendree regained its six-point bulge before the late comeback by the host Trojans. Trevecca Nazarene accounted for all 21 fast-break points in the contest, while the Trojans’ reserves outscored the McKendree bench by a 39-0 margin.
Donaldson came off the bench to lead Trevecca Nazarene (2-4) with 20 points. Devin Whitfield added 14 points, while Jacob Williams and Cameron Paulding each chipped in with 11 points for the Trojans. Percy Blade registered team-high totals of 12 rebounds and five assists for the hosts.