St. Louis, MO, 11/20/21 – The Westminster College men's basketball team faced on Saturday afternoon the daunting task of trying to rebound from an overtime loss on Friday night. The Blue Jays would face the Crusaders of the University of Dallas. The Crusaders had impressed on Friday night when they led the entire second half and pulled away to beat host Webster University 76-67. The Blue Jays would trail at halftime 35-29. A 52-point second half charge by the Jays led them to an 81-68 bounce back victory! The win evened the Blue Jays record at 3-3 before Thanksgiving.
The first half saw the Blue Jays build a five-point lead with 8:23 remaining in the half on a Jaxon Althaus (Oak Grove, MO / Oak Grove) jump shot 20-15. The Crusaders would go on a 11-5 run from a 24-24 tie to take a 35-29 halftime lead.
The second half saw the Blue Jays make some adjustments and roared out of halftime on a 10-0 run powered by four points by Devonte Hubbard (Lee's Summit, Mo. / Grandview Christian) and six points by Tre Kempker (Eugene, MO / Eugene) to retake the lead at 39-35. It was a lead the Blue Jays would not give back. They stretched their lead to double figures with 12:56 to play on a Landon Harrison bucket off of a Kempker assist 50-40. Two minutes later Ethan Thompson (Columbia, MO / Hallsville) and Landon Harrison (Jefferson City, MO / Helias) would make back to back threes to give the Blue Jays their largest lead of the game at 18 points 58-40. They each assisted on the others three. Dallas would then score the next eight points to cut the Jays lead down to ten 58-48 with 8:54 to play.
The Crusaders would chip away again and cut the lead to six at 63-57 with 5:43 to play. It was as close as they would get the rest of the game. Three's by Althaus and Emil Spriggs (Kansas City, MO / Lee's Summit North) pushed the lead back to double figures at 69-59 with four minutes to go. The Blue Jays would hit eight out of nine free throws down the stretch to hold off the Crusaders 81-68.
Althaus would lead the Blue Jays in scoring with 19 points followed in double figures by Kempker with 17, Harrison with 15 and Thompson with 11. Harrison led a stellar Blue Jay effort on the boards with 11 rebounds completing the double-double. Kempker would contribute eight rebounds as the Jays would outrebound the bigger Crusaders 39-31 including 14 offensive rebounds. Harrison would lead the Jays with four assists. Althaus and Harrison each had two assists to lead the team.
The Blue Jays would finish 1-1 in the Classic. Centre would win the Classic with a 72-59 win over Webster. Jaxon Althaus and Tre Kempker were both named to the All-Tournament Team.
The Blue Jays will be back in action on Tuesday November 23rd when they travel to Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO for their final exhibition of the season against the NCAA Division II opponent out of the GLVC. The game is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. tip-off.