Westminster Men's Basketball Upsets Maryville in Exhibition

Carter Wands
Carter Wands

ST. LOUIS - Westminster men's basketball upset NCAA Division II opponent Maryville 73-71 in an exhibition game.

The game does not count on Westminster's overall record. 

"We have a lot of guys coming back who played heavy minutes last year," said Westminster Head Coach Matt Mitchell. "We are an experienced team at this stage of the season. They've been in a lot of tight games so they weren't overwhemled by the moment." 

Despite a 10-point deficit at the half, the Blue Jays rallied to outscore the Saints 45-33 in the second. 

Neither team led by more than six points in the game until the under five minute mark when a 5-0 run by the Saints put them up 32-24. 

Six straight points from Romo Tabb, Jimmy Villalobos, and Sean O'Brien set the tone for the second half, cutting the Saints lead to 38-34. 

With about 12 minutes remaining, Tabb was taken out of the game with an injured lip. He left the game as the Blue Jays leading scorer with 12 points.

"This is a resilient group," said Mitchell. "Ultimately, we have got to get back to guys fguring out what they're good at and defining their roles. Having this kind of game helps define those roles." 

Maryville was still clinging to a lead at the under ten minute mark, leading by as much as eight points. 

A dunk from O'Brien at the nine minute mark set the tone for the rest of the game, cutting the lead to 56-50 in favor of the Saints. 

Two freethrows and a three-pointer from Tanner Cochran with under five minutes left cut the Saints lead even further, putting the Blue Jays within two. 

Back-to-back three-pointers from Villalobos and Tanner Gentges gave the Blue Jays their first lead since early in the game, 66-62 with three minutes remaining. 

Westminster held the lead by hitting freethrows from Gentges, Carter Wands, and Tanner Cochran. They sealed the victory for Westminster with a 73-71 exhibition win.

All five starters for Westminster ended the game in double-digit points. O'Brien led the Blue Jays with 14 points and eight rebounds. Villalobos scored 13 points and added eight rebounds. Wands tallied 10 points, seven assists, and three steals.

"We were very balanced tonight and we were able to make some adjustments on both ends of the floor that cleaned up some sreas of the game, and that's because we've done it before," said Mitchell.

The Blue Jays officially start the regular season with the SLIAC / CCIW Tip-Off in Decatur, Ill. They face Millikin Friday at 7 p.m. and Elmhurst Saturday at 3 p.m.