Westminster Men's Basketball Narrowly Falls to Millikin

Kobe Wands (5)
Kobe Wands (5)

DECATUR, Ill. - Westminster men's basketball recovered from an early deficit, but it wasn't enough to top Millikin, eventually falling 74-69.

The Blue Jays fall to 0-2 on the season with the loss. 

The Big Blue got off to a quick start, taking a 5-0 lead in their first two possessions. Stu Hollandsworth and Romo Tabb scored back-to-back buckets to even the score at five apiece. 

From there, Millikin went on an 18-0 run over four minutes to go up 23-5, but Collin Caywood ended the Blue Jay dry spell with a three-pointer at the 13:33 mark. Millikin went on another small 8-0 to increase their lead to 31-8 with just under nine minutes to play in the half. 

"We got off to a horribly slow start in the first 10 minutes," said Westminster Head Coach Matt Mitchell. "We were careless with the ball and had minimal energy. We finally settled down and finished the second half on a mini-run that gave us life."

Carter and Kobe Wands combined for an 8-0 to put Westminster back in the game, down 16-31. Tabb and Kobe Wands hit freethrows and jump shots down the stretch to put Westminster back within 13 points at half, facing a 40-27 deficit with 20 minutes to play. 

Millikin increased their lead back to 18 within the first three minutes of the second half, but consecutive three-pointers from Tabb and Hayden Drace put Westminster back in the game, down just 12 with 10 minutes in the half. Another three-pointer from Drace and a layup from Kobe Wands put Westminster back within single digits for the first time since early in the first half, down 61-52 with 8:31 remaining. 

"We were finally able to gain some momentum by forcing turnovers which led to transition baskets," said Mitchell. 

Tabb hit three straight jumpers followed by two freethrows from Kobe Wands to put Westminster behind just six points with under five minutes in the game. In the final minutes, the Blue Jays struggled to score, eventually falling 74-69 to the Big Blue after fighting to come back from an over 20-point deficit. 

Kobe Wands led all scorers with 23 points, including going a perfect 13-13 from the freethrow line. Tabb poured in 20 points for Westminster, going 7-16 from the field. 

"Once again, we couldn't make plays down the stretch that you have to make to beat high-level opponents," said Mitchell. "Millikin is a much larger and extremely physical team and that really hurt us on the glass."

Westminster stays on the road to face Coe College Nov. 20 for a 7 p.m. tipoff.