FULTON, Mo. - Westminster men's basketball begins the new year with a 70-60 win over the Golden Eagles.
With the win, the Blue Jays improve to 5-7 overall and 4-1 in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
"This was a tough win," said Westminster Head Coach Matt Mitchell. "We have been fighting a lot of illness and the guys are fatigued. Spalding is disciplined and quick, but we executed extremely well most of the night and made good enough shots to beat a good team."
Westminster jumped out to an early lead, scoring in their first five possessions of the game to take the 11-4 lead over Spalding. A three-pointer followed by a tip-in from Romo Tabb with just over 12 minutes to play in the first half have Westminster its first double-digit lead of the half at 18-6.
The Golden Eagles quickly recovered to cut the deficit in half with under 10 minutes to play, coming within four points of the lead. A layup and a foul gave Makygh Galbreath three points to stifle the Spalding run. At the 2:40 mark, Spalding again came within two points of the lead but a timely three-pointer from Steven Brandt put the Westminster lead back at five points, making the score 30-25.
Brandt hit another shot with one minute left in the half to end the Westminster scoring in the opening 20 minutes, ending the half with a 34-29 lead.
After Tabb made a layup to open the second half, Spalding hit five points to again come within two points of the lead, but Kobe Wands hit a three-pointer to keep the Blue Jay lead at 39-34. K. Wands would make the next seven points for Westminster to pull back ahead by double digits, 46-36, with 14:58 on the clock.
Both teams struggled to score in the next five minutes outside of a Brandt three-pointer, forcing Westminster to call a timeout. Brandt hit another three-pointer with just over seven minutes remaining to again pull ahead double-digits, 56-46. The lead extended to 15 after freethrows from Carter Wands and a three-pointer from Collin Caywood at the 4:48 mark.
Spalding fought to remain in the game, making key shots down the stretch, but K. Wands answered by closing the game with seven more points of his own, making the final 70-60.
K. Wands led all scorers with 22 points, going 6-8 from the field, 4-5 from beyond the arc, and a perfect 6-6 from the freethrow line. He also added in six rebounds and four assists.
Romo Tabb added 17 points and six rebounds in the win, while Brandt added 13.
Westminster continues SLIAC play on the road, traveling to Webster Saturday for a 3 p.m. tipoff.