St. Louis, MO, 12/31/21 – Playing the 15th ranked team in the nation on their home court is hard enough but, doing so without you're leading scorer (who also happens to be your leading rebounder and assist man) Landon Harrison (Jefferson City, MO / Helias) and defensive dynamo Devonte Hubbard (Lee's Summit, Mo. / Grandview Christian) proved to be too much for the Westminster College men's basketball team to overcome. The Blue Jays that played battled in the first half staying within striking distance of the Washington University Bears. The Bears closed the half on a 10-5 run that stretched their lead to their largest lead of the game thus far at 45-32 at the half. The Bears came out of the halftime on a tear and quickly built their lead on the back of made three pointers and offensive rebounds to go on to an 86-57 victory. The loss dropped the Blue Jays to 4-7 on the season as they wrap up the non-conference portion of their season. The 15th ranked Bears improve to 10-1 on the season.
Senior Jaxon Althaus (Oak Grove, MO / Oak Grove) led the Blue Jays with 13 points on 5-10 shooting but was limited with foul trouble. Ethan Thompson (Columbia, Mo. / Hallsville) contributed nine points off the bench for the Blue Jays and Emil Spriggs (Kansas City, MO / Lee's Summitt North) had eight, both were 4-6 from the field. Althaus also led the Jays with six rebounds followed by Brennan Jeffries (Jefferson City, MO / Jefferson City). The Bears outrebounded the Blue Jays 45 to 27 including a huge 18-1 edge on the offensive glass. That lead to a 16-3 edge for the Bears on second chance points.
The Blue Jays turned the ball over 20 times compared to 11 times by the Bears. The Bears turned those 20 turnovers into 28 points to the Blue Jays six points off the 11 Bear turnovers. Althaus led the team with three steals. Spriggs dished out a team high three assists and freshman Caleb Maassen (Linn, MO / Linn) swatted three Bear shots to lead the team in blocks. The Blue Jays shot 42% from the field while the Bears shot 44% however the Bears managed 25 more shots than the Jays thanks to the turnovers and offensive rebounds.
The Blue Jays have wrapped up a very difficult non-conference schedule and will now turn their attention to the 14 game SLIAC schedule. The top six finishers will qualify for the year end conference tournament. The winner of that tournament will qualify for the NCAA Tournament. The Blue Jays will open on the road on Wednesday January 5th against the Eureka College Red Devils. The game is set for a 5:00 p.m. tip off.