The McKendree University men’s basketball team opened its 2018-19 exhibition schedule Friday night with an 83-44 loss Friday evening at Northwestern University.
The game marked the McKendree head coaching debut of Chris Foster, who was named the 25th head coach in program history back in March. Foster’s squad went toe-to-toe with the host Wildcats for most of the first half before a run of 11 consecutive points of the middle stages in the period put Northwestern in front to stay.
Senior guard Nate Michael (St. Joseph, IL/St. Joseph-Ogden) led a balanced attack for McKendree with nine points and three assists, while senior center Lens-Harly Louis (Montreal, Quebec, Canada/Florida Air Academy) and sophomore forward Jacob Donaldson (Effingham, IL/Effingham) each chipped in with six points.
Junior center Nolan Gerling (Germantown, IL/Mater Dei) also finished with 10 points and pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds for the Bearcats.
“I thought we saw some good things out of our team tonight,” said Foster. “We did some things well early but it kind of got away from us in the second half. Their size gave us a lot of problems throughout the game as well.
“Now we have some things on film where we can break it down and see what we need to work on heading into the regular season next week.”
In the opening moments of the first half, McKendree controlled the tempo and the lead. A layup from junior guard Logan Kohrmann (Bartelso, IL/Breese Central) with 17:23 left in the period pushed the Bearcats out to an early 6-2 advantage.
After Northwestern battled back to grab a 7-6 lead, Michael scored the next five points for McKendree, including a 3-pointer at the 13:59 mark, to give the Bearcats their final lead of the night at 11-9.
The host Wildcats then reeled off the next 11 points to pull out to a 22-11 lead with 9:18 remaining until halftime. Northwestern held a 41-25 lead at the break and pulled away in the second half to notch the exhibition victory.
McKendree will officially begin its season next Saturday – Nov. 10 – by facing Northern Michigan University in the GLVC/GLIAC Crossover in Marquette, Mich.
The Bearcats will meet Northern Michigan at 11 a.m. ET on Nov. 10 before batting Michigan Tech the following day at 1 p.m. ET.
McKendree’s first home game will come on Tuesday, Nov. 20 against Union University (Tenn.).