Fulton, MO 12/20/2022- The Westminster College men's basketball welcomed the Nebraska Wesleyan University Prairie Wolves to the Historic Gym on Tuesday night for the last game before the holiday. It was the Blue Jays' first home game since December 3rd. The Jays hung around, but the Prairie Wolves would pull away in the final ten minutes of the game and win it 88-63. Westminster falls to 1-9 on the season with one non-conference game remaining on the schedule before SLIAC play starts in the new year. Nebraska Wesleyan improves to 5-5 on the season.
The Prairie Wolves got out to a 6-3 lead to start the game; Jaxon Althaus (Oak Grove, MO/Oak Grove) would tie it 6-6 after hitting a three. He would score the next possession as well to make it 9-8 after Nebraska Wesleyan answered with a three of their own. Althaus would score the Jays' first eight points of the game. Westminster would get their first lead of the game after Ben Eberlin (Hardin, IL / Calhoun) made a layup off a nice assist from Tre Kempker (Eugene, MO/Eugene) to give their team the 12-10 lead. Nebraska would get the lead back after hitting a three-pointer with 12:52 left in the first half to make it 14-12. The Prairie Wolves would lead the rest of the game from this point on. The lead would get extended to ten points with 5:28 left in the half. The Jays would cut into it a bit after three-pointers from Makygh Galbreath (Fulton, MO/Fulton) and Kaden Eirhart (Altamont, IL / Altamont) made it 34-30. The Wolves would score a basket with 30 seconds left, and the teams headed to the locker rooms with the score 36-30.
After the break, Nebraska Wesleyan would go on a 10-2 run to start the second half and force a timeout from Blue Jay head coach Todd Creal. After the timeout, the Jays looked like they had a comeback in them after an offensive rebound put back by Caleb Maassen (Linn, MO/Linn), a three from Galbreath, and a breakaway dunk by Eberlin made it 51-39 with 15:07 left to play. Unfortunately, the foul trouble, turnovers, and offensive rebounds were too much for the Blue Jays to overcome. They would lose the game 88-63. Westminster had 25 turnovers in the game, which led to 35 points off turnovers for Nebraska Wesleyan. The Blue Jays would also give up 17 offensive rebounds to the Prairie Wolves and they converted those into 19 second-chance points.
Nebraska Wesleyan went 18-25 from the free throw line while Westminster went 8-12. Both teams shot it well from behind the three-point arc, with the Prairie Wolves going 10-27 and the Blue Jays going 8-12. The Jays were out-rebounded 37 to 24.
Althaus led the way offensively, scoring 25 points in the game he was 9-18 from the field, 4-11 from three, and 3-5 from the line. He also led the team with 5 rebounds. Galbreath would have 12 points after going 4-9 from three. Eberlin had 8 points off the bench and Brennan Jeffries (Jefferson City, MO/Jefferson City) had a team-high 8 assists in the contest.
The Blue Jays will have 10 days off for the holiday break and will be back in action inside the Historic Gym on December 30th when they take on the #9 WashU Bears. That game tips off at 7:00 PM.