ST. LOUIS -Westminster men's basketball recorded a 76-70 win over University of the Ozarks for their first win of the season.
The Blue Jays improve to 1-4 on the season with the win.
"We had a very strong defensive game today," said Westminster Head Coach Matt Mitchell. "It was very similar to a conference game. Our guys played hard and player together."
The first six points of the game for Westminster were made by Stu Hollandsworth to give the Blue Jays the 6-5 advantage after the first five minutes of play.
The Eagles managed to tie the game at 11 at the 12:05 mark, causing Westminster to call a timeout. Carter Wands hit a layup coming out of the timeout to maintain the Blue Jay lead, spurring a small 6-0 to make the score 17-11 with eight minutes to play in the half.
A Collin Caywood three-pointer and two freethrows from Kobe Wands with under two minutes to play in the half gave the Blue Jays their first double-digit lead of the game at 31-21. Another layup from Caywood and a three-pointer from Hayden Drace ended the 10-0 run and the half, putting Westminster up 36-21 going into the locker rooms.
In the opening minutes of the second half, the Eagles threatened to pull back within single digits, hitting four three-pointers in the first five minutes of play, but the Blue Jays continued to score to hold their strong lead.
At the 11:18 mark, Ozarks pulled within seven points, scoring in four straight possessions for an 8-0 run while the Blue Jays suffered a small scoring drought, making the score 52-45.
A three-pointer from Nolan Huot ended the field goal drought for Westminster to pull back ahead by double digits.
The Blue Jays continued to hold their healthy lead, pulling ahead by as many as 16 with under four mintues to play. A 9-1 run from the Eagles threatened Westminster down the stretch, forcing the Blue Jays to call a timeout with 1:34 remaining and a 65-57 lead.
Kobe Wands and Steven Brandt each hit freethrows under one minute, but the Eagles were on a hot streak, hitting a three-pointer to pull within six. The Blue Jays continued to make freethrows to hold the lead, including key freethrows from Kobe Wands and Romo Tabb with under 10 seconds in the game. Despite the Eagles back-to-back three-pointers to end the game, Westminster captured the 76-70 win.
Tabb led all scorers with 21 points, including going 13-15 from the freethrow line and adding 13 rebounds for his first double-double this season. Hollandsworth, Caywood, and Kobe Wands each added 11 points.
Tabb was named to the All-Tournament team for his strong performance on the weekend.
"We had good minutes from our bench and had a nice run to end the first half," said Mitchell. "We need to use this game as a building block for the future."
Westminster returns home and opens St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play Wednesday at 7:30 in the Historic Gym.