FULTON, Mo. - After suffering a heart-breaking last-second loss to Blackburn earlier in the week, Westminster men's basketball got back on track with a necessary win over Eureka, 79-74.
The Blue Jays improve to 9-10 overall and 8-4 in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Confernce.
"We had a very balanced attack tonight and had a lot of guys contribute to the win," said Westminster Head Coach Matt Mitchell. "We did a great job of taking care of the ball with only nine turnovers and played great defense, and in the end i was enough to pull out a win."
After Eureka hit the first shot of the game, Westminster opened on a 12-0 run which included back-to-back three-pointers from Carter Wands and Collin Caywood. Eureka ended the run with a three of their own, but Steven Brandt answered with a basket from behind the arc to take a 15-6 lead after the first four minutes of play.
The Red Devils continued to trade baskets with the Blue Jays, but it wasn't until the 10:38 mark that Westminster opened up its first double-digit lead on a three-pointer from Makygh Galbreath. Westminster held on to its double-digit lead thanks to a jumper from Caywood and a three-point play from Romo Tabb, increasing to a 15-point lead with a layup from Galbreath and another three from Brandt with eight minutes to play in the half.
The Red Devils stayed in the game on freethrows, with eight of their final 15 points of the half coming from the charity stripe to close out the half with Westminster leading 49-36.
An 8-2 run from Eureka opened the second half to keep the Blue Jays on their feet, but back-to-back-to-back scoring possessions with a jumper from Kobe Wands and two more threes from Brandt held the double-digit lead at 59-44 with 15:56 to play.
Westminster let Eureka back in the game with a 9-0 Red Devil run over the next three minutes to decrease their lead to just six. At the 10 minute mark of the half, Eureka ended another 8-0 run to tie the game at 64 points apiece. Stu Hollandsworth hit the next six points for the Blue Jays to maintain their lead with less than five minutes to play.
At the 3:15 mark, Eureka hit a shot to make the score 74-72, but Carter Wands answered with a layup to increase the lead back to four. Westminster was able to get three stops which included two defensive rebounds and a turnover over the next two minutes to force Eureka to foul. Carter Wands hit two freethrows with 59 seconds to play to secure the lead at 76-70. Freethrows from Brandt and Kobe Wands in the final seconds sealed the win 79-74 for Westminster.
Carter Wands led the Blue Jays with 16 points, including seven assists and three steals. Brandt, earning his first start, added 15 points from four three pointers, adding eight rebounds. Tabb and Hollandsworth were each in double figures with 13 and 10, respectively.
Westminster starts a two-game road trip next week starting with Fontbonne Wednesday and Spalding Saturday.