FULTON, Mo. – The Westminster men's basketball team was defeated by Central Christian 93-91 on Monday night. The Blue Jays fall to 0-1 on the season.
The Blue Jays scored first on a layup from Omar Wright before the Saints scored on a layup of their own. The teams remained within a basket of each other until the Blue Jays went on a 10-2 run thanks to five points each from Jaxon Althaus and Landon Harrison. This run put Westminster up 18-12 with 14:39 left in the first half. The Knights battled back and scored the next six points to tie the game at 18-all.
Westminster retook the lead on a free throw by Makygh Galbreath before falling behind again after a Knights layup. Galbreath put Westminster back ahead 21-20 on a layup but Central Christian quickly answered with a three to go up 23-21 with 11:25 remaining. The Knights held the lead for the next five-and-a-half minutes until Harrison scored on layup to make the score 33-32 and Steven Brandt converted a layup after a steal by TJ Cochran to give Westminster a 34-33 lead. The Knights tied the game at 35 before Westminster got three-pointers from Galbreath and Jonathan Geier to go up 41-37.
In the final two minutes of the half Westminster scored nine points to take a 52-44 lead into halftime. Six of those nine points came from Emil Spriggs, who made a free throw, a three-pointer and a layup.
In the opening minutes of the second half Althaus drained three three-pointers to help the Blue Jays increase their lead to 63-59. Central Christian took the lead back with 13:27 left in the game and held it until Galbreath put Westminster back on top with a layup with just over eight minute remaining.
The teams continued the battle back-and-forth and with 30 seconds remaining in the game Wright made a layup and was fouled by a Central Christian player. He made to free throw to complete the three-point play and tie the game at 91-91.
After the free throw Westminster Head Coach Matt Mitchell called a time out to prepare his team to defend a possible game-winning shot. After the timeout the Knights cut some time off the clock before calling timeout of their own. After the throw-in Central Christian scored on a layup with six second left to take a 93-91 lead. The buzzer-beater attempt from Althaus fell short and the Knights escaped with a close victory.
Althaus led Westminster with 22 points and went 3-8 form three-point range. Harrison led the Blue Jays with nine rebounds and added 16 points. He also led the team with four assists. Wright (13 points) and Galbreath (10 points) also scored in double-digits for Westminster. Spriggs led all players with four steals in the game.
The Blue Jays will return to action this weekend when they travel to Storm Lake, Iowa to take on Buena Vista and Simpson in the A-R-C / SLIAC Challenge.