FULTON, Mo. - Westminster men's basketball fell to MacMurray 79-72 in a close battle between SLIAC opponents.
The Blue Jays fall to 9-6 overall and 5-3 in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
"Our guys showed a lot of character todya," said Westminster Head Coach Matt Mitchell. "We came out as flat and slow as we did Wednesday night. We finally got things going and had a chance to pull it out late."
Tanner Cochran started the scoring by hitting a three to open the game. Westminster quickly behind on a 10-1 run by MacMurray to go up 10-4 after the first three minutes. The Blue Jays answered with a 7-2 run of their own, followed by a Highlander 7-0 run. MacMurray increased their lead to double-digits with just under 10 minutes to play, Westminster falling behind 25-15.
MacMurray held the double-digit lead, but Westminster continued to fight to stay in the game, including points from Cochran and Steven Brandt late in the first half.
A Cody Shaw three-pointer to end the half cut the lead to just nine points at the half, with the Highlanders on top 36-27.
MacMurray opened the half by going on a 10-1 run to open up the lead to 18 points. It wasn't until the 15:21 mark of the second half that the Blue Jays were able to score a field goal, with Cody Shaw hitting a layup.
Stu Hollandsworth and Cochran hit shots to cut the lead, but MacMurray hit a three-pointer to increase their lead to 20, forcing a timeout from Westminster.
Four straight three-pointers from Cochran, Collin Caywood, and Brandt gave Westminster a new shooting confidence with six minutes to play in the game, down 16 points. After a Blue Jay timeout, Westminster went on a 9-2 run to cut the Highlander lead back to single digits with just under four minutes to play. At the 2:17 mark, Brandt hit yet another three-pointer to put Westminster back within six, down 74-68.
The Highlanders hit five straight freethrows down the stretch to make it impossible for the Blue Jays to stage a comeback, despite another layup from Brandt.
"Steven really led the offensive charge for us tonight by hitting some key shots late in the game," said Mitchell.
Brandt scored a career-high 21 points on 4-8 shooting from behind the arc, including grabbing 10 rebounds for his first career double-double. Cochran added 17 points and seven rebounds, while Cody Shaw added 15 points.
The Blue Jays go on the road to face Blackburn Wednesday. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.