DECATUR -- Things could not have started much worse for the Millikin men's basketball team Wednesday in their CCIW game against North Central College.
The Big Blue fell behind 25-2 in the first seven minutes of the game.
But Millikin didn't give up, putting together a run of their own to tighten the game to 29-21 with 2:29 left in the first half. Millikin continued to fight in the second half, but could not close the point gap, ultimately losing 71-54.
"It was a disappointing start and we got behind big early in the game," Millikin coach Mark Scherer said. "But we did a great job fighting back. We came back from 20 down and the guys showed a lot of heart."
The Cardinals went into the halftime locker room up 35-25.
Millikin (8-7, 1-5 CCIW) kept battling in the second half and pulled to within four at 37-33 with 16:31 left in the game.
An Alex Sorenson basket pushed the North Central (10-4, 4-2) lead back to six points, but Elijah Henry answered for Millikin to make it 39-35 with 15:51 to play.
The Big Blue spent too much energy trying to climb back in the game and the Cardinals found their second wind going on a 21-7 run over the next eight minutes to pull away 60-42.
Turnovers were again a problem for Millikin committing 20 compared to only nine for North Central.
"Too many turnovers in the second half ultimately got to us," Scherer said. "But all of our players had a lot of heart in a scrappy game."
Millikin won the rebounding battle 32-28.
Millikin shot 41 percent for the game from the field with the Cardinals connecting on 46 percent.
Millikin was 7-15 (47 percent) from 3-point range while North Central went 10-29 (35 percent).
Levi Laws led Millikin with 14 points and three assists. Henry had 12 points and a team high seven rebounds. Zach Fisher had 11 points and three rebounds.
Erwin Henry led North Central with 16 points. Alex Sorenson had 14 points and seven rebounds.