CARLINVILLE, Ill. – A strong second-half shooting performance allowed the Blackburn Beavers to defeat the Westminster men's basketball team 74-69 on Saturday afternoon. The Beavers shot 56.4% (17-30) from the floor in the second half while holding the Blue Jays to 38.7% (12-31).
The Blue Jays drop to 7-7 in St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play with the loss while the Beavers improve to 9-5.
Westminster came out of the gate firing, going 5-6 from three-point range over the first seven minutes to jump out to a 22-2 lead. The Beavers buckled down and outscored Westminster 14-0 over the next three minutes of play. Sophomore guard Ethan Thompson finally ended the dry spell with a three to make the score 25-16 with 10:45 let to play. A jump shot from freshman forward Will Suellentrop put the Blue Jays up by 11 points before the Beavers made a three to cut the lead back down to single digits. The Blue Jays held a single-digit lead for the rest of the half and a layup from sophomore guard Landon Harrison in the closing seconds of the period gave Westminster a 37-28 lead at halftime.
Junior guard Emil Spriggs added four points in the first three minutes of the second half to put the Blue Jays up 41-31. Slowly but surely the eager Beavers gnawed away at the lead and went ahead for the first time with a three-pointer with just under 10 minutes to play. Blackburn added two layups to stretch the lead to 54-49 with 8:46 to go. The Beavers dug in and built a lead as high as 10 points but a layup from sophomore forward Makygh Galbreath got the Blue Jays back within a single possession with 23 ticks left on the clock. Westminster was forced to foul Blackburn after the inbound pass and the Beavers converted both free throws to ice the game 74-69.
Sophomore forward Jaxon Althaus led the Blue Jays with 17 points and nine rebounds. Spriggs totaled 14 points followed by Thompson with 12 and Harrison with 10.
Westminster will play next on Wednesday at home against Webster at 7:30 PM.