INDIANOLA, Iowa - Kobe Wands scored a team-high 22 points in the Westminster men's basketball loss to Simpson to open the 2017-18 sesaon.
The Blue Jays begin the season 0-1.
After getting behind early in the first half, Stu Hollandsworth started the scoring for Westminster three minutes into the game to break up an opening 11-point run for Simpson.
"We got off to a horrible start tonight," said Westminster Head Coach Matt Mitchell. "Getting down 17-2 to start the game makes is very difficult to come back, especially on the road against a veteran team."
Another four-minute scoring drought for the Blue Jays resulted in another 8-0 run for Simpson until Casey McCollum broke it up with a jumpshot to make the score 19-4 10 minutes into the game.
Wands scored six of his 22 points in the final ten minutes of the second half. Tanner Cochran hit three freethrows at the end of the first half to make the score 44-25 in favor of Simpson going into the break.
Cochran opened the second half scoring with a layup. Westminster traded buckets with Simpson, incuding back-to-back three-pointers from K. Wands to keep the Blue Jaysin the game. A score from McCollum and another three from K. Wands put Westminster within 20 points at a score of 59-40 with 13 minutes remaining into the game.
Another back-to-back three-pointer run from K. Wands with nine minutes remaining in the half brought the deficit back to 15. A 12-1 run from Simpson from the nine-minute mark to the two-minute mark let the game slip out of Westminster's reach, making the score 82-54 with under two minutes left.
Despite the loss, the Blue Jays made the second half a much closer game, scoring 36 points to Simpson's 39 in the second half alone.
K. Wands ended the game going 8-16 from the field, including 4-7 from behind the arc. McCollum led the way in the paint with seven rebounds.
"Kobe is an explosive player and showed that tonight," said Mitchell. "Blue Jay Nation will enjoy watching our team this year as we continue to get used to each other."
The Blue Jays open at home next Tuesday against Coe. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.