The N.C. Wesleyan men’s basketball team isn’t shying away from talented teams this season. The Bishops’ pre-conference schedule has been filled with Division I opponents.

That trend continued on Wednesday when the Bishops took the court against D-I Norfolk State, which was NCWC’s fifth game against a Division I opponent this season.

The D-III Bishops lost, 80-58, on the road in a nonconference game.

It was a tough test after a long layoff, the first game for NCWC (2-3) since Dec. 9 when it earned a win over Piedmont.

The Bishops’ previous games against Division I programs this season came against Elon, Coastal Carolina, East Carolina and Appalachian State. All were on the road and all were losses, though the Coastal Carolina game didn’t count against their record as it was an exhibition.

On Wednesday, NCWC had two players finish in double figures in points, led by Damon McDowell’s team-high 12 points. McDowell also had four assists. Marquis Eskew added 10 points off the bench, with nine coming in the second half. Eskew shot a team-high 2-for-3 from 3-point range, with both makes coming in the second half.

Starters Tim Pettiford and Sal Young each scored eight points, with Isaiah Lewis and Brayden Dixon finishing with four points apiece. Lewis also added a team-high seven rebounds. Patrick Gee scored four points off the bench.

Elsewhere, Drake Thompson was second on the team with three rebounds despite playing just seven minutes.

NCWC kept the score close in the first half and trailed by seven points at 29-22, but the Bishops couldn’t reel in the Spartans (6-4) in the second half as the deficit only grew. Norfolk State scored 51 points in the final 20 minutes to put away the visiting Bishops.

The Bishops did find their range in the second half with four 3-pointers, though a 1-for-9 effort from beyond the arc in the first half didn’t help matters. In all, the Bishops shot 5-for-18 from 3-point range. They did, however, out-rebound Norfolk State by a 31-30 margin.

The Bishops have one more nonconference game, a home contest against Virginia Wesleyan at 1 p.m. on Saturday, before beginning USA South Conference play. NCWC opens conference play with a Jan. 22 home game against Greensboro.