The Westminster men's basketball team closed out the 2016 regular season with a 65-62 loss on senior day. The Westminster Blue Jays end the regular season with a 10-8 conference record and a 10-15 overall record. They currently sit in a four-way tie for third place in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) and await to hear if they made it into the SLIAC Tournament (top four advance to the Tournament).
The Blue Jays jumped out to a 10-0 lead to start the game, but Principia closed the gap to just one point over the next three minutes. The Blue Jays maintained possession of the lead, and two free throws by sophomore Tanner Cochran gave them a five-point lead, 20-15. The Panthers managed a 9-0 run to take their first lead of the game, 24-20 with 5:31 left in the first half. A basket down low followed by a fast break dunk by sophomore Romo Tabb gave the Blue Jays a three-point lead. Principia knotted the game at 27-27, but Tabb put in a layup to take back the lead. A three-pointer by senior Matt Murphy gave the Blue Jays a two-point lead with 1:21 left, but Principia hit a bucket with 17 seconds on the clock to send the game into halftime with the game knotted at 32-32.
Senior Kellen Brondel scored the first nine points of the second half for the Blue Jays, helping them to a five-point lead over Principia, 41-36. Principia managed to take back the lead with 12:41 to play and pulled up a seven-point lead over the Blue Jays. Layups from Cochran and junior Zach Nelson brought the score within one, and a layup by freshman Carter Wands finally tied the game back up with 3:16 left in the game, 56-56. Principia took back the lead until Tabb made a basket in the paint with 2:16 to play. Ten seconds later Principia scored four points to take a three-point lead with 48 seconds remaining. A jumper by sophomore Nick Carlos closed the gap to one point with 38 seconds on the clock, but Principia went 2-for-2 from the foul line with 0:08 to play to take a three-point lead. With one second on the clock the Blue Jays put up a final attempt, but missed the three, ending the game with a 65-62 loss.
Tabb recorded a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds. He shot a perfect 8-for-8 from the field and 6-for-6 from the foul line. Brondel added 11 points while shooting 5-for-7, and Carlos finished with 10 points and six rebounds.
If the Blue Jays make the SLIAC Tournament, they will play on Thursday, February 25. The time and location are TBA. If they do not make the Tournament, their season will have come to a close.