FULTON, Mo. - Westminster men's basketball fell 63-60 to Blackburn as the final seconds of the clock wore down, the Blue Jays unable to complete a comeback against the Beavers.
Westminster falls to 8-10 overall and 7-4 in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic conference.
"Our guys gave it all they had," said Westminster Head Coach Matt Mitchell. "We definitely suffered some fatigue from our Greenville game and we could see it early as Blackburn really hurt us with offensive rebounds. That was the difference in the game."
A slow start from both teams resulted in the first basket of the game being scored at the 17:27 mark from Kobe Wands. Westminster then was able to find their offensive stride, with Wands hitting another three-pointer followed by Romo Tabb sinking a three-pointer to make the score 13-4 after eight minutes of play. Stu Hollandsworth gave the Blue Jays the first double digit lead of the game at 15-4 at the 11:37 mark.
Blackburn continued to chip away at the Blue Jay lead, but five points from Makygh Galbreath and five points from Tabb down the stretch allowed Westminster to hold its lead, ending the half 33-27.
The Beavers opened up the second half with a 17-0 run, capitalizing on a cold streak from the Blue Jays for the opening six minutes. Kobe Wands hit a jump shot with 14:07 in the half for Westminster's first points of the second half, making the score 44-35.
Westminster fell behind by as many as 14, but a small 6-0 run of a Kobe Wands three-pointer and threethrows from Wands and Tabb put Westminster back in the game, down eight with 7:47 to play.
A Tabb layup at 4:50 put Westminster within five points of the lead at 58-53, as the Blue Jays took advantage of the freethrow line to will themselves back in the game after a slow start.
At the 3:02 mark, Tabb slammed down an emphatic dunk from an offensive board followed immediately by a three-pointer from Wands, putting Westminster down 60-58 with 2:38 to play. Another Blue Jay stop gave Westminster the chance to score, and Collin Caywood took advantage of a great pass under the basket from Tabb to tie the game at 60 apiece with just under two minutes remaining.
Blackburn hit a three-pointer in the next possession to silence the Blue Jay crowd, followed by a freethrow to put the Beavers back up 64-60. Carter Wands took matters into his own hands with 37 seconds to play, going straight to the rim for a layup and foul. He hit the freehthrow to make the score 64-63.
With 36 seconds on the clock, Westminster played lockdown defense but gave up and offensive board to Blackburn, giving them no choice but to foul. Blackburn hit both freethrows, giving Westminster the ball back down three points with 4.5 seconds on the clock.
Steven Brandt threw a long pass to Tabb but was tipped and picked up by Wands, who had a look from three at the top of the key at the buzzer, but the Blackburn defense prevented his score to end the game at 66-63.
"Even with poor shooting, we had a chance in the end, which is a real testiony to our character," said Mitchell.
Westminster remains at home Saturday, facing Eureka in SLIAC play.