CARLINVILLE, Ill. - Westminster men's basketball narrowly falls to SLIAC opponent Blackburn, 65-57.
The Blue Jays fall to 9-7 overall and 5-4 in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
"We are continuing to struggle in shooting the ball," said Westminster Head Coach Matt Mitchell. "We defended well all night, but we're struggled to find an offensive rhythm from the floor and the freethrow line."
After getting out to a 5-0 start, the Beavers came back with an 8-2 run to take the lead back in the opening minutes. Four lead changes and two ties later, Blackburn went on a small run to take a five point lead with five minutes remaining, the largest lead for either team since Westminster's opening 5-0 run. The Blue Jays were never able to regain the lead in the first half, eventually falling behind by eight points to end the half 31-23 in favor of the Beavers.
Stu Hollandsworth opened the second half with back-to-back layups, but a 6-0 run from the Beavers put them up by 14 points with 15:26 left to play.
Hollandsworth and Steven Brandt teamed up to put Westminster back within single digits, but back-to-back Blackburn three-pointers gave the Beavers a 16-point lead with 7:53 to play.
A 13-2 run, including five points from Cody Shaw and five points from Collin Caywood, gave the Blue Jays life with under five minutes to play and down seven points. After the run, the Blue Jays went on a scoring drought of nearly two minutes, making their comeback run much more diffcult with 1:30 reminaing in the game.
The Beavers hit freethrows down the stretch to solidify their win, despite a three-pointer from Caywood to end the game 65-57.
"I do feel like we are headed in the right direction," said Mitchell. "We just have to stay at it and good things will happen."
Hollandsworth led all scorers with 18 points. Shaw added 11 while Caywood added 10.
The Blue Jays stay on the road to face Webster Saturday at 3 p.m.