Westminster Men's Basketball Ends Season in Heartbreaking Loss at MacMurray

Westminster Men's Basketball Ends Season in Heartbreaking Loss at MacMurray

JACKSONVILLE, Ill. - Westminster ends the season and their quest for the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament with an 81-75 loss to MacMurray.

The Blue Jays finish the 2018-19 season 10-15 overall and 9-9 in the SLIAC. 

"This was a difficult way for our seniors to go out," said Westminster Head Coach Matt Mitchell. If the Blue Jays had won today, it would have secured their spot in the SLIAC Tournament. "Our guys played hard all night, but we didn't take care of the ball and missed key shots. I'm proud of our guys' effort."

The Highlanders got off to a quick start with back-to-back unanswered baskets, but Westminster quickly recovered with a three-pointer from Steven Brandt and a layup from Stu Hollandsworth to take the lead. MacMurray followed with five points of their own to take the 9-5 lead after the first four minutes of play. 

While Westminster came back within one, the Highlanders never gave up the lead and the Blue Jays found themselves down 22-14 just over halfway through the opening 20 minutes. 

After the Highlanders pulled ahead by as many as nine, Hollandsworth and Romo Tabb paired up for a pair of baskets to keep the lead in single digits. Despite coming back within two possessions of the lead, it wasn't until the 1:03 mark of the first half when Jak Kitchens made a layup to put Westminster back within one possession of the lead at 34-31. Tabb hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game at 34 points apiece going into the locker rooms. 

Five tie and two lead changes were featured in the opening five minutes of the first half, with neither team pulling ahead by two possessions until MacMurray took a 49-45 lead at the 14:03 mark. A three-pointer and jump shot from Kobe Wands put Westminster back on top with 12:46 to play, but  an 8-0 Highlander run over the next 1:21 put MacMurray back on top 57-50. 

MacMurray held the two-possession lead until Brandt knocked down a three-pointer with 5:54 remaining, cutting the deficit to 67-64. Tabb followed it up with four points of his own to regain the lead 68-67 with under five minutes to play, but MacMurray answered with four points of their own and never looked back. Westminster was unable to to take back the lead in the final minutes of the game, missing their final four three-point attempts. 

Tabb led all scorers with 20 points, followed by 18 from Kobe Wands and 12 from Brandt. 

Tabb's six rebounds pushed him over the 500-rebound mark, finishing his career with 1,238 points and 502 rebounds.