BELOIT - Had the Beloit Memorial defense held visiting Sun Prairie to one shot per possession Thursday night at Barkin Arena, the matchup between the two teams would've been a significantly different story than the one that played out.
Instead, it was offensive rebound after offensive rebound for the Cardinals that led directly to a 69-48 loss for the Purple Knights, who fell to 0-2 on the season.
The final score was a bit misleading, as the Knights trailed 31-26 at halftime and were down by just nine points with 10 minutes to play.
The Cardinals went on a 14-3 run from there to secure the victory and move to 3-0 on the season and 2-0 in the Big Eight.
The two teams traded blows early. After Jaden Bell scored the Purple Knights' first eight points, it was a Kobe Chandler 3-pointer that brought the Knights withing a point a t2-11. Sun Prairie went on a 9-0 run and eventually opened the lead to 28-14.
The Knights trailed 29-23 with 16 seconds to play when a minor scuffle broke out. Some pushing and shoving ensued, and two Sun Prairie players left the bench, resuting in a pair of technical fouls.
Sun Prairie senior Deante Luster received a pair of technical fouls, resulting in an ejection, for his role in the altercation. An additional technical was administered to another Sun Prairie player, while Beloit's Bell was given one.
The upshot of the uprising was eight straight free throws for Bell, who could only cash in three of them. When Sun Prairie beat the buzzer with a basket, the Cardinals had a five-point lead at intermission.
The closest the Knights would get in the second half was seven points, as turnovers plagued the offense and the Cardinals relentless presence on their offensive glass led to an easy finish.
Chandler, who finished with 13 points, said the team simply didn't play well enough to win.
"We just didn't box out enough on defense," Chandler said. "We couldn't get rebounds, and you can't play defense like that. Offensively, we had way too many turnovers, and we didn't run the offense very well at all. We know that if we play well, we can hang with any team, but we've just got to do the little things."
Bell scored 17 points in the first half, but was held scoreless in the second half as the Cardinals made some defensive adjustments.
"They started double-teaming Jaden,' Beloit Memorial coach Dondre Bell said. "They wanted to make sure he didn't have the ball in his hands. Kobe got going a little bit, but we've got to get more guys than that going. We need four or five guys in double figures every night if we are going to get going. We've got to finish around the rim better, and I think once we do that, we'll look a lot better out there."
Sun Prairie was led by Colin Schaefer's 20 points, while senior forward Delaware Hale had 16.
The schedule doesn't get much easier for the Knights, who travel to La Follette Saturday in search of their first victory of the season.
"We're in the gauntlet of the Big Eight season," Bell said. "There's not going to be any easy wins out there. Sun Prairie showed tonight why they are one of the top teams in the state, and we're going to have to continue to get these guys expeirence on the floor so that we can be more competitive the second time around."
SUN PRAIRIE 69, BELOIT MEMORIAL 48
Sun Prairie 31 38 - 69
Beloit Memorial 26 22 - 48
SUN PRAIRIE (fg ft-fta pts) - Schaefer 8 2-3 20, Ware 2 0-2 4, Hughes 1 1-4 3, Hale 9 0-0 19, Ostronga 2 0-3 4, Olson 7 0-0 16, Lyles 1 0-2 2. Totals 30 4-16 69.
BELOIT MEMORIAL - Phiffer 2 0-0 6, Donaldson 1 0-0 2, Bell 7 3-7 17, Garrett 1 1-2 4, Chandler 5 0-0 13, Ganiyu 3 0-0 6. Totals 19 4-9 48.
3-point goals: SP 5 (Schaefer 2, Olson 2, Hale 1); BM 6 (Chandler 3, Phiffer 2, Garrett 1). Fouls: SP 9; BM 15