Kaneland is still searching for an identity without the services of starting junior point guard Drew David.
Sycamore unleashed a disruptive full court press throughout Saturday nights Northern Illinois Big 12 East Division matchup, forcing the Knights into 23 turnovers.
The host Spartans built a 19-7 first quarter advantage and kept Kaneland at arms length the rest of the way, securing a comfortable 60-46 victory.
We have to stick to what our philosophy is in beating those types of presses, and we didnt do it, said Kaneland coach Brian Johnson. It led to a lot of turnovers and easy buckets for them.
Its tough without Drew because were missing an experienced ballhandler to take care of the ball, said Knights senior forward Matt Limbrunner, who delivered a solid all-around performance with 19 points and 9 rebounds.
With no timetable set for Davids return as he recovers from a wrist fracture suffered during the Class 5A football playoffs, the Knights (1-4, 1-1) need a collective effort to fill the void.
These guys play really hard whether the outcome is a win or a loss, Johnson said. We still have 20 games left and regionals so we need to keep getting better and take baby steps.
Sycamore junior Devin Mottet scored 10 of his team-high 17 points in the opening quarter and the Spartans were on the verge of a rout, holding a 27-11 lead midway through the second quarter.
However, Kaneland ended the half on a 9-2 run, sparked by Limbrunners putback off a missed free throw along with a soft jumper from the top of the key. Bailey Harvell and Ty Carlson each connected on a pair of free throws.
The momentum was short-lived as Jacob Winters and Mottet connected on 3-pointers early in the third quarter to give the Spartans their largest lead of the game at 41-22.
Kaneland responded once again with an 11-2 spurt as John Pruett scored in transition on a nice feed from Dan Miller and Cole Carlson hauled down an offensive rebound and knocked down a baseline jumper.
Getting more than one shot on a number of possessions helped get us back in the game, Limbrunner said, as the Knights enjoyed a 28-18 advantage on the boards.
Sycamore scored the next five points to push the advantage back to 48-33 with 5:22 left and the Knights never got closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
Miller finished with 9 points and 5 rebounds for the Knights while Ty Carlson contributed 8 points.
David Compher added 13 points and Ben Niemann had 8 for the hot-shooting Spartans, who connected on 21 of 39 shots from the field and went 15-for-16 at the line.