Going into this season, North Central College men's basketball coach Todd Raridon said the Cardinals needed big contributions offensively from senior Vince Kmiec.
Kmiec wasted no time getting started as he scored a game-high 29 points to lead NCC to a 100-72 win over Valor Chistian College of Ohio on the opening night of both the season and the Chicago Marriot Naperville Tip-Off Tournament at North Central's newly remodeled Gregory Arena.
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"I wanted to come out and have a good showing the first game. Personally, I've never been part of hitting 100 points," Kmiec said. "The arena looks great and the fan section was good."
Kmiec hit for 15 points in the first half as the Cardinals led 49-33 at intermission. Raridon said Kmiec came on really strong in the second half.
"In the second half Vince really established himself. We need him offensively and he did a nice job of getting himself open," Raridon said.
It was all Cardinals from the start against the Warriors (1-1). Brandon Williams hit for a layup on the fastbreak after taking a pass from Kevin Honn to put NCC up 13-2, 4:21 into the game.
Another fastbreak layup by Landon Gamble off a pass from Pat Rourke made it 22-9 about three minutes later. The Warriors got going offensively and would cut the Cardinals' advantage to as little as 7. NCC had difficultly keep Valor's Andrew Douby in check and he finished with a team-high 28 points.
The final 20 minutes belonged to the Cardinals as they took a 20-plus points advantage about four minutes into the second half and never let their lead slip below 20 the rest of the way.
NCC's Jack Burchett scored 18 of his 20 points during the second half. Gamble finished with 13, Honn 11 and Neuqua Valley grad Tyler Sutton had nine.
Raridon was happy with the victory but stressed the Cardinals are not a finished product.
"It's a long season and we have a lot of things to work on," he said.
The NCC coach said practice time will be at a premium, however, as the Cardinals have four games over the next 10 days beginning with Saturday's 7:30 p.m. tournament contest against DePauw. After the Nov. 26 home game against Benedictine, NCC won't return to action until Dec. 11.