St. Louis, MO, 11/13/21 – The Blue Jay men's basketball team was coming off of a huge win over a team that was garnering some national attention in Buena Vista University on Friday night. A 1:00 p.m. Saturday match up with the Simpson College Storm out of the same American Rivers Conference would prove to be a challenge on a short turn around for the Blue Jays. The Jays got off to a rocky start but would fight their way back into it by halftime. The second half saw ten ties and nine lead changes as the two teams would battle close the entire second half. Makygh Galbreath (Fulton, MO / Fulton) would score five straight points, in the last 1:19 of the game to help the Blue Jays win their second straight game 76-74 over the Storm. The win evened the Blue Jays record at 2-2 on the young season.
The Storm started the game hot. They were motivated by their opening loss on Friday night. The Storm would run out to a 17-11 lead six minutes into the game. The Blue Jays were back on their heels trying to steady themselves defensively. They had a hard time stopping Storm center Chris Honz who would score forcing a Blue Jay timeout from head coach Matt Mitchell. After the timeout the Blue Jays would go on a 6-1 run to get back to within a point at 18-17 thanks to a Jaxon Althaus (Oak Grove, MO / Oak Grove) jumper, Emil Spriggs (Kansas City, MO / Lee's Summitt North) lay-up, and two Landon Harrison (Jefferson City, MO / Helias) free throws.
The Blue Jays would take their first lead on a Devonte Hubbard (Lee's Summit, Mo. / Grandview Christian) bucket off of a dazzling assist by Ethan Thompson (Columbia, MO / Hallsville) 29-28 but the Storm would sink two free throws to retake the lead and then would beat the first half buzzer for a 32-29 lead at halftime.
The second half would not see a lead of more than five points points by either team as the game went back and forth. Tre Kempker (Eugene, MO / Eugene) would start the second half with three fouls and play a flawless stretch that saw him hit a three pointer off of a Harrison assist get a defensive rebound a couple steals and played great defense without fouling. When he came out of the game the Blue Jays led 50-48 after a Brennan Jeffries (Jefferson City, MO / Jefferson City) lay-up and free throw.
Althaus would score ten straight points that would keep the Blue Jays in the game as the game would be tied 62-62 with 9:22 to play. The Storm would jump to a 70-66 lead but back to back Harrison buckets would tie the game once again at 70-70 with 3:03 to play. With 2:35 to play Althaus would foul out of the game and the resulting two free throws would give the storm a 72-70 lead. It was now Galbreath's time to shine. He would take a pass from Hubbard and drive hard to the basket finishing through contact from the Storms center Honz who would foul out on the play. Galbreath would then hit the free throw to give the Jays the 73-72 lead with 1:40 to play in the game. The storm would convert a free throw with 1:19 to play to tie the game 73-73. After the Blue Jays missed a shot to take the lead the Storm would have the chance to take the lead. Hubbard would slide in front of the Storm guard and took a charge, his third of the game, to preserve the tie and give the ball back to the Jays with 48 seconds to play. After a Harrison missed jump shot Galbreath would track down the offensive rebound and after throwing it back out the ball would find its way back to him in the left corner where he would drive the base line and finish in traffic to give the Blue Jays the lead 75-73 with 15 seconds left. The Blue Jays were whistled for a foul with 7.9 seconds to play the Storm would make the first free throw to cut the Blue Jays lead to 75-74. They would miss the second and Harrison would haul in the rebound and was fouled with just over five seconds left. He would make one of two to make the score 76-74. The Storm would stage a mad dash down the floor but Hubbard would steal the ball from the ball handler before they could get a shot and the final horn sounded and the Blue Jays escaped with the 76-74 victory.
Harrison led the Blue Jays with 21 points followed by Althaus with 20 points. Kempker and Galbreath chipped in nine points each. Harrison and Hubbard led the Jays on the boards with six each. Harrison led the team with four assists. Kempker, Harrison and Cade Combs (Harrisburg, Mo. / Harrisburg) each had two steal apiece to lead the team.
The Blue Jays will be back in action on Friday November 19th when the Blue Jays take on the Centre College Colonels in the first game of the Webster University Classic. The game is set for a 6:00 p.m. tip off.