McKendree received a rude welcome into Great Lakes Valley Conference play Thursday.
Southern Indiana scored the first 15 points of the contest and shot 53 percent from the field (40-for-75) as it whipped the Bearcats 104-58.
The Screaming Eagles shot a sizzling 67 percent from 3-point range (18-for-27) and outrebounded McKendree 51-29.
“They’re a good team. No doubt about that,” said 51st-year Bearcats coach Harry Statham, whose team slipped to 2-3 overall and 0-1 in the GLVC. “We were a little disappointed, of course, how we played. We could have played better in all areas.
“We didn’t shoot well, we didn’t defend nearly well enough, we didn’t rebound very well. I was not real happy with most of our game. We did shoot free throws OK (15-for-21), but past that, there’s not a lot to talk about.”
Southern Indiana had six players reach double figures, led by junior Marcellous Washington’s 20 points off the bench. Washington was 8-for-9 from the field and 4-for-4 on 3-pointers.
Sophomore Alex Stein had 13 points and also was 4-for-4 on 3s as the Screaming Eagles improved to 5-0 and 1-0.
Junior Justin Blanks came off the bench and had a game-best 23 points on 7-for-17 shooting for the Bearcats, who finished at 34 percent (20-for-59) from the field. Redshirt freshman Noah Gerling had 17 points and six rebounds.
Southern Indiana took firm control in the first three minutes as it built a 15-0 lead.
The last 12 points in the drive were 3-pointers: two by sophomore Alex Stein and one apiece by senior Cortez Macklin and senior Jeril Taylor.
Contrastly, McKendree struggled to find momentum on the offensive end as the Screaming Eagles’ lead grew to 42-15 with 5:58 left in the half and 54-25 at the intermission.
“You have to take good shots and hit them,” Statham said. “We didn’t shoot it very well. We didn’t get on track for a long time. I don’t know if we were tight or what. We never really got going for a long, long time.
“We were subpar in all areas. They’re a good team. That’s part of the reason. But we’ve got to do better. It won’t be any easier Saturday. Bellarmine is a very good club. Getting these top league teams early sure shows you where you are. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ll forget tonight and start tomorrow again.”
Southern Indiana 66, McKendree 40 (women)
McKendree fell behind 32-16 at halftime and never recovered. The Bearcats shot 31 percent from the field (15-for-49), committed 25 turnovers and were outrebounded 42-32.
Southern Indiana (6-1, 1-0) got 14 points and 11 rebounds from senior Hannah Wascher. Junior Kaydie Grooms had 13 points and senior Tasia Brewer chipped in with 12. The Screaming Eagles were 8-for-20 on 3-pointers.
McKendree (4-2, 0-1) received points from 11 players, but no one other than senior Shannon McGinnis had more than seven. Freshman Shayli Florine had six points off the bench.
Southern Indiana entered the game ranked first in the GLVC in scoring offense (84.3 points, scoring defense (53 points) and scoring margin (31.3 points).