Blue Jays Push Panthers But Come Up Short 118-103

Picture by Stephen Campbell
Picture by Stephen Campbell

Greenville, IL 2/8/2023- The Westminster College men's basketball team took on the Greenville University Panthers at Greenville on Tuesday. The Blue Jays brought it to the Panthers by pressing a pressing team that worked to some extent and kept them in the game after it looked like Greenville was going to run away with it at 22-12. The Blue Jays forced 14 turnovers and hit 12 threes. The problem is the Blue Jays also turned the ball over 27 times and Greenville made 18 three-pointers. Westminster had their chances, but Greenville walks away victorious 118-103. The Jays fall to 2-20 on the year and 1-10 in the conference. The Panthers improve to 6-16 on the season and 5-6 in the SLIAC.

The Blue Jays shook things up and tired platoon lineups, meaning they played 15 different players in subbed out in three to four-minute increments. Trying to keep with Greenville's unique style, they would play 16 different players in the game. Presley David (Hollister, Mo. / Hollister) got things going knocking down a three in his first career start. Brennan Jeffries (Jefferson City, MO/ Jefferson City) would hit a three a few possessions later to put the Blue Jays up 6-2, stunning the Panthers. Greenville would hit a flurry of shots, including a three of their own, to take a 9-8 lead. The race would be on for who could cause the most turnovers and hit the most threes. Midway through the first half Greenville got hot and made eight straight points to take a 22-12 lead and forced a timeout by the Blue Jays before things got out of hand in a hurry. Westminster would respond after the timeout and get the lead down to three with 8:25 left in the half. The Panthers hit back-to-back threes after that and got the lead back up to nine points. The teams would trade baskets for the rest of the half until the last minute. Greenville hit two three-pointers in a row to go up 58-43. Jaxon Althaus (Oak Grove, MO/ Oak Grove) hit a three of his own in the final seconds of the half to send the game to halftime with Westminster trialing 58-45.

Westminster would hang around trailing by ten for most of the second half. Greenville would pull away near the final ten minutes and went up twenty-one points. Althaus got hot from three-point land and got the Blue Jays back in it at 112-98 with 2:45 left to play. He would hit another one to make it 112-101 with a minute thirty to go. Makygh Galbreath (Fulton, MO/ Fulton) made a basket to put the Jays down ten points. Althaus had another good look from three to cut it to seven, but it didn't fall. The Panthers would make their free throws down the stretch to win the game 118-103.

Althaus led all scorers with 28 points, going 9-16 from the field and 6-12 from three. He also grabbed 6 rebounds in the game. Jeffries, Ben Eberlin (Hardin, IL / Calhoun), and Tre Kempker (Eugene, MO/ Eugene) all had 12 points in the game. Eberlin had 9 rebounds in the game and Kempker had 6. Galbreath was the fifth Blue Jay in double figures scoring 11 points and he would go 3-5 from behind the arc.

The Blue Jays will be back in action on Saturday, February 11th when they take on Spalding University. It is Senior Day, and that game is scheduled to tip off at 3:00 PM.