The McKendree University men’s basketball team opened the Great Lakes Valley Conference portion of its 2018-19 schedule with an 87-55 loss on Thursday night at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Senior guards Nate Michael and Giovanni Offard each scored 10 points to lead a balanced attack for McKendree, which moved to 2-3 on the season. Michael also added team-leading totals of six rebounds and four assists for the Bearcats.
Missouri-St. Louis rode the strength of a strong shooting performance. The Tritons scorched the nets for 62.3 percent shooting in the contest (38 of 61), including a 68.8 percent clip (22 of 32) in the first half in building a 48-26 lead at the intermission.
The teams traded baskets in the opening minutes before UMSL reeled off eight consecutive points to take a 15-6 lead with 14:03 left in the first half. After a three-pointer by Offard slowed the Tritons’ run, Missouri-St. Louis scored the next 10 points and stretched the margin to 25-9 midway through the period. McKendree fought back and used back-to-back three-pointers from sophomore forward Jacob Donaldson to trim the deficit to 33-21 with just under seven minutes left until halftime.
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After UMSL took its 22-point lead at the half, McKendree came out and chipped away at the deficit in the opening moments of the second half. The Bearcats opened the period on a 10-2 run and pulled within 50-36 with 15:28 remaining. Junior guard Logan Kohrmann keyed the burst for McKendree, scoring six of the 10 points. But UMSL answered back with a 14-2 spurt of its own, pushing the margin out to 64-38 with just over 10 minutes left.
Ronnie Carson came off the bench to lead UMSL with 19 points, while Jason Towery and Johnathan Matthews each connected for 17 points. Shane Wissink dished out a game-high eight assists for the Tritons, who will visit Lebanon on Jan. 12. McKendree will step back into conference play Saturday afternoon at Maryville University. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m.