FULTON, Mo. - Westminster men's basketball won their St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opener 77-72 over Iowa Wesleyan on 20 points from Collin Caywood.
Westminster improves to 2-4 overall and 1-0 in the SLIAC.
"Tonight was a very typical conference game," said Westminster Head Coach Matt Mitchell. "It was hard fought and both teams played well in spurts. Both teams took care of the ball and both teams shot the ball well from the foul line. It's a great reminder for our guys that it takes 40 minutes of teamwork on both ends of the floor to win a SLIAC game."
Stu Hollandsworth started the game out with four points, including a game-opening dunk, following by a three-pointer from Romo Tabb, tying the game at seven points apiece after the opening four minutes of play.
The Tigers took their first lead with back-to-back three-pointers, but Westminster eventually tied the game at 16 with a three-pointer from Caywood at the 12:14 mark.
Another hot shooting streak from the Tigers, Westminster again fell behind, finally regaining the lead on another three-pointer from Caywood at the 5:24 mark. Two straight layups from Tabb gave Westminster the 33-28 lead with just under five minutes to play in the half.
A Caywood layup, three-pointer, and two made freethrows then gave the Blue Jays their first double-digit lead of the game at 42-32 with a minute to play. Carter Wands hit a jump shot followed by Iowa Wesleyan scoring on their last possession of the half to keep the lead at 10 points after 20 minutes of play.
Westminster managed to maintain a small lead in the opening minutes of the second half, allowing the Tigers to come as close as three points at the 13:28 mark, but Kobe Wands hit a jump shot in the next Blue Jay posession to hold the lead.
At the under 10 minute mark, the Tigers went on a short 7-0 run, scoring in three straight possessions, to tie the game at 58 points apiece. Hayden Drace held the Westminster lead with a jumper, but the Tigers then hit a three-pointer to take a one-point lead, their first since the 5:24 mark of the first half.
With each team in the bonus, the Tigers and Blue Jays traded freethrows in the next three minutes which featured three ties and two lead changes. It wasn't until Caywood was fouled on a three-pointer with 17 seconds remaining that either team took a lead of more than two points. Caywood hit all three freethrows to make the score 75-72.
Westminster earned a stop in the next Tiger possession, and Kobe Wands made two freethrows to seal the victory at 77-72.
Caywood poured in 20 points to lead all scorers, including going 7-7 from the freethrow line. Tabb added 11 points while Kobe Wands added 10.
The Blue Jays travel to Blackburn Saturday to continue SLIAC play. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m.