Fulton, MO 1/4/2022- The Blue Jays men's basketball team welcomed the Blackburn College Beavers to the Historic Gym to start SLIAC play. The two would need overtime to decide a winner. When the dust settled, settled, the Blue Jays walked away victorious, winning the game 75-72 in OT. The Blue Jays improve to 2-10 on the season and start 1-0 in the SLIAC. The Beavers fall to 4-8 on the year and 0-1 in the SLIAC.
The Blue Jays got off to a strong start taking an early 11-2 lead. The Beavers gathered themselves and came back to make it 11-9 to force a Westminster timeout. The Jays would get the lead back up to nine points and hold it there for much of the first half. Blackburn would end the half on a 4-0 run to make it 35-28 at the break.
Jaxon Althaus (Oak Grove, MO/ Oak Grove) hit a jumper to start the second half and put his team back up by nine. The two teams would trade baskets to start the half then the Beavers would go on a brief run to start and chip away at the Blue Jay lead. Blackburn would hit a three and then made another basket after a missed shot by the Jays to make it 45-44 with 12:28 left to play. Westminster would call a timeout. After the timeout, the Beavers would go on a 7-0 run and take a 51-45 lead. They would hold the lead for the next eight minutes and not let the Blue Jays tie the game. The Jays would get within striking distance but the Beavers always had an answer to keep it at least a one-possession game.
Makygh Galbreath (Fulton, MO/ Fulton) made it 65-62 with 2:04 remaining. Tre Kempker (Eugene, MO/Eugene) would get fouled while rebounding the ball. He would miss the first free throw and make the second, bringing the Blue Jays within two. Althaus would tie the game 65-65 with 26 seconds left in the game. The Beavers would step out of bounds with 4 seconds left in the game and give the ball back to Westminster. The ball was inbounded to Galbreath, who went the length of the floor and got to the rim. He. He just couldn't get the shot to fall, sending the game to overtime.
In overtime, the Jays struck first with a layup for Ben Eberlin (Hardin, IL/ Calhoun), Kempker followed that up with a layup of his own to give Westminster a four-point lead in the opening minute of the extra period. The Beavers would tie 69-69 with 2:56 left. Brennan Jeffries (Jefferson City, Mo. / Jefferson City) made two free throws to put the Blue Jays up. Kempker would hit a shot and make it 73-69 with 1:05 left. The Beavers cut to one with seventeen seconds left. They would foul Galbreath and send him to the line. He would make both free throws to put the Jays back up three points. The Beavers inbounded the ball and heaved a half-court but it would not be close. Westminster holds on to win the game 75-72.
Althaus had a team-high 18 points, he would also gather 5 rebounds. Kempker had 15 points and 7 rebounds. Galbreath recorded a double-double scoring 12 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Kaden Eirhart (Altamont, IL / Altamont) had 11 points off the bench and he would go 3-5 from behind the three-point arc.
The Blue Jays will host Eureka College on Saturday, January 7th and that game will take place at 3:00 PM from inside the Historic Gym.