ST. LOUIS (AP) - Harry Statham earned his record-breaking 1,099th victory as a head coach on Saturday as freshman Nate Michael scored 40 points to lead McKendree to a 92-84 win over Maryville.
The 78-year-old Statham, who is in his 50th season coaching his alma mater, moved past legendary Tennessee women’s coach Pat Summitt for most wins ever by a coach at a four-year school. He has 476 losses.
“This win means more to me for all the players who have been in our program, and our current team. This program is all about them,” Statham said. “For our players, the pressure was building with everyone asking them when the next (win) would come.”
Michael had 22 points in the second half and David Franklin had 14 of his 21 after halftime as the Bearcats (11-10, 4-9 Great Lakes Valley Conference) pulled away. Michael Jackson had 12 of his 14 points in the second half and grabbed 10 rebounds.
“This was a big game for us in the conference and to get this one out of the way, to get a big win and to see the pressure come off them means more than anything right now. I’m sure somewhere down the road I will look back at this and enjoy the moment. It was great to see all our fans travel to St. Louis, get behind us and be part of this.”
Forrester Sims had 23 points and Marvin Grant-Clark 21 for the Saints (8-15, 2-11).
McKendree had tremendous success under Statham at the NAIA level, making 40 postseason appearances - including 10 in the national tournament during a 12-year span - ending in 2011. Then the Bearcats moved up to Division II and have struggled.
The milestone win came on the Bearcats’ third try after losing the past two games.
“I’m honored to be mentioned alongside coach Summitt,” said Statham. “I have met her several times at clinics over the years. She is a very classy lady and a great coach.”
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