The Mount Vernon Nazarene College men's basketball team got a good early test as the Cougars squared off with Athletes in Action in an exhibition game on Monday evening.
Despite playing against an AIA roster filled with former college stars and professional players, MVNC was able to pull within nine points in the final two minutes before the Cougars fell 93-80.
After shooting just 33 percent from the field in the first half (11-of-33) and trailing 43-33 at the break, MVNC shot 48 percent from the field (15-of-31) in the final period as the Cougars were only outscored 50-47 over the final 20 minutes of action.
In fact, if it was not for AIA shooting 63 percent from the field (22-of-35) in the second half, there is no telling just how close the final score could have been.
MVNC's Kenny Chaffin led all players in scoring with 21 points while also grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds. Chaffin was 11-of-12 from the free throw line, and he also recorded six steals.
Phil Argento added 20 points for the Cougars as he nailed four three-pointers. Matt Keller and Brad Moser chipped in with nine points apiece, and Lenny Foyer added six points and seven rebounds. Andy Gast and Matt Taylor also finished with six and five points respectively.
Earl Ike, a former United States Basketball League and collegiate standout at Montevallo (Ala.) College, led AIA with 19 points and eight rebounds. Jack Hartman, a three-time NAIA All-American at Biola (Calif.) University, added 12 points, while Torey McCormick, a former University of Miami (Fla.) star, contributed 10 points and a team-high six steals. Harvard (Mass.) University's Damian Long also tossed in 10 points.
AIA will now travel on to play the likes of Indiana, Illinois, Xavier, Wright State, Dayton, and Kentucky on their predominantly Division I schedule.
MVNC will open up the regular season on November 10 at 8:00 p.m. against Judson (Ill.) College in the annual Cougar Homecoming Classic.