The Purdue North Central basketball team fell 81-58 to Cardinal Stritch University (Milwaukee, WI) Saturday evening at the La Porte Civic Auditorium. Stritch, the #3 ranked team in the latest national poll, improved to 26-3 overall and 22-1 in the CCAC while the Panthers dropped to 6-22 and 4-19.
Among many activities throughout the night, seniors Alphonse Futch and Matt Demler were recognized for their contributions as PNC student-athletes (more later).
The Panthers slowed the pace to try and shorten the game early-on against the much bigger Wolves. The strategy worked as they limited Stritch offensively. Unfortunately, PNC couldn't hit a shot and eventually had to try and play catch-up the rest of the way.
The Wolves gradually pulled away and incrementally expanded their lead to 42-22 at intermission.
The second half was more balanced as the Panthers continued to claw away at their opponent. PNC was outscored 39-36 in the second stanza for the final margin.
Stritch finished 31 of 58 (53%) from the floor, 6 of 14 (43%) on three's and 13 of 19 from the line while PNC was 21 of 56 (38%), 4 of 18 (22%) and 12 of 19 (63%) respectively.
A major difference came on the boards where the much taller Wolves used their height to dominate the glass differential 35-19.
Individually, Demler led the way with 16 points on 7 of 13 shooting while freshman Matt Mc Laughlin added 11 points and 5 assists. Sophomore Allan Barnes contributed 8 points on a 4 of 6 effort and added a team-high 5 rebounds.
Darren Moore (22 points, 8 rebounds), Derek Semenas (21 points, 12 rebounds), Chad Mazur (14 points), Tony Smit (11 points) and Mike Simpson (10 assists) all had good games for Cardinal Stritch.
Before tip-off Demler and Futch were honored and shared center stage with their parents.
Futch (Lawrence Central High School, Indianapolis, IN), a three-year player, was escorted by his mother Katina and expects to earn a Bachelors of Liberal Studies degree with an emphasis in Pre-Law this may.
As a student-athlete Futch played in 16 games his first year and averaged 4.0 points per game and 1.8 rebounds per game in nearly 14 minutes of action.
Last season Futch's numbers jumped significantly as he played in 30 games and started 22. The 6'3 guard was third on the team in scoring at 8.6 ppg while averaging 3.1 rpg in nearly 27 minutes of play.
This year saw continued improvement as Futch improved to second on the team in scoring at 10.2 ppg while pulling down 3.3 rpg. He leads the team in steals and is second in blocked shots and three-pointers made. He also had a career-high 25 points earlier this season in PNC's victory over Judson University.
Demler (Berrien springs HS, Lake Michigan Community College, Baroda, MI) was escorted by his parents Bob and Connie. A 2-year player after transferring in from Lake Michigan Community College in Benton Harbor, MI expects to earn his degree this spring in Business.
As a student-athlete Demler played in 29 games and started 18 his junior season and was fourth on the team in scoring at 9.4 ppg. A strong rebounding guard, he averaged 5.1 rpg while finishing third on the team in steals at 33 and second in assists.
This year Demler has remained consistent, starting 15 of 27 games played to date. He leads the team in minutes played at 27.4 per game and has averaged 6.9 points and 4.2 rpg. Matt's all-around play continues to show as he is second on the team in steals and assists.
PNC's schedule doesn't get any easier as they travel to Chicago on Wednesday to take on 9th ranked St. Xavier in another CCAC match-up. The Cougars, in the midst of a 13 game winning streak, are 24-4 overall and 20-2 in the CCAC.