FULTON, Mo. - Westminster men's basketball notched its first win of the 2017-18 season with a 73-71 victory over Coe.
The Blue Jays improve to 1-1 with the win.
"It was very important for us to get out first win tonight on our home court against a quality team from a quality league," said Westminster Head Coach Matt Mitchell. "I was very happy with our effort and our progress on the offensive end."
Westminster started the game off by trying to come from behind over the first several minutes of the game after the Kohawks got out to a fast 6-2 start. Five straight points from Kobe Wands starting at the 16:34 mark put Westminster back within one, but it wasn't until a Tanner Cochran three-pointer until the Blue Jays took their first lead with 15:31 to play in the half.
The next five minutes of play saw four ties and four lead changes, until Cochran hit two freethrows to pull ahead but four points with 10 minutes in the half. Another Cochran three-pointer led to Westminster's largest lead of the game at five points with the score 24-19.
At the 7:23 mark, the Kohawks took back the lead, and after two more lead changes, had a 31-26 lead over the Blue Jays with under five minutes left in the half.
Kobe Wands scored five straight points to close out the half for Westminster, trailing 39-28 after the first 20 minutes of play.
Coe scored the first five points of the second half to secure their largest lead of the game at 44-38. Westminster continued to chip away, tying the game at 49 apiece with 14:31 to play on a Carter Wands freethrow. Westminster finally retook the lead with just over 13 to play on a layup from Stu Hollandsworth.
The Kohawks eventually went on a 7-0 run, ending at the 11:00 minute mark, go take a 58-54 lead, but Westminster went on a 9-0 run of its own fueled by K. Wands, Steven Brandt, and Cochran to go up 63-58.
"We had many young guys contribute tonight which is reassuring as we move forward," said Mitchell. " The stability of our veterans like Tanner and Carter afford us the opportunity to see what our young guys like Steven Brandt and Hayden Drace can do."
The Blue Jays held their lead, going up by as many as six with three minutes left, for the remainder of the game. The Kohawks pulled within two with under a minute to play, but Cochran and C. Wands hit freethrows down the stretch to secure their first victory of the season.
K. Wands led all scorers with 26 points, going 8-19 from the field. He added in eight rebounds and three steals. Cochran was also in double-figures for the Blue Jays with 14 points.
"Kobe validated his offensive role in his performance tonight," said Mitchell.
Westminster travels to Knox and Monmouth over the weekend before returning home for its first St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference matchup against Webster Nov. 29.