ELSAH, Ill. - Westminster men's basketball ended the regular season with a loss to Principia 72-67, entering the SLIAC tournament ranked second next weekend in Greenville.
Westminster finished 17-8 overall and 13-5 in the conference, tied with Iowa Wesleyan.
Greenville is the outright winner of the conference, earning the right to host the tournament next weekend, Feb. 23-25.
"We had a rough shooting game today," said Westminster Head Coach Matt Mitchell. The team was 34.2% from the field and 27% from behind the arc. "That was the difference in the game.
"Principia will enter the tournament playing the best of all the teams," continued Mitchell. "They are playing extremely well right now."
The Blue Jays held a small lead for the opening minutes of the game, until at the 12:52 mark, Principia pulled ahead 12-11.
Westminster stayed within striking distance of the Panthers, but Principia continued to build on the their lead. With two minutes remaining in the half, Westminster fell behind by double-digits. Principia added a three-pointer to end the half to make the Blue Jay deficit 42-28 going into the half.
Romo Tabb opened the half for Westminster with seven straight points to pull the Blue Jays back in single digits of the lead.
The Panther retained a double-digit lead for most of the second half despite Tabb's solid opening.
A three-pointer from Cody Shaw with under two minutes to play in the game put Westminster within four points of Principia at 66-62. The Panthers made several freethrows down the stretch to give themselves the final win and enter into the SLIAC Tournament.
Tabb and Sean O'Brien led the team with 16 points each. O'Brien added nine rebounds.
The Blue Jays will face Webster in the opening game of the SLIAC Tournament Friday, Feb. 23 in Greenville, Illinois.