Freshman center Nolan Gerling registered game-high totals of 32 points and 14 rebounds to lead the McKendree University men’s basketball team to a 91-84 victory Saturday night in exhibition play at NCAA Division I SIUE.
Gerling was 12-of-18 from the field and added three blocked shots and three steals in leading the Bearcats to the win. This was the first meeting on the basketball court between McKendree and SIUE since the 1991-92 season.
Five different players scored in double figures for McKendree, which outscored SIUE 47-38 in the final 20 minutes of play.Sophomore guard Nate Michael chipped in with 16 points and a game-high six assists before fouling out late in the contest. Junior guard Justin Blankscame off the bench to score all 14 of his points in the second half, while senior guard Michael Jacksonhad 12 points and senior forward Darin Winkelman netted 10 points.
In a game that featured 12 ties and 11 lead changes, McKendree used a 12-4 run to take the lead for good with just over six minutes to play. Blanks helped fuel the burst for the Bearcats, pouring in nine consecutive points in one stretch. Blanks capped the run on a three-pointer with 6:22 on the clock to give McKendree a 79-72 advantage.
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McKendree extended its lead to as many as 14 points in the closing minutes before SIUE made one final run, scoring 11 of the final 15 points to account for the final margin. Burak Eslik paced the Cougars with 18 points, while Carlos Anderson recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
The Bearcats will tip off their 2016-17 regular-season schedule Nov. 12 when they host Robert Morris University-Springfield in a non-conference game. Game time is slated for 8 p.m. at the Harry M. Statham Sports Center.