ELSAH, Ill. - Westminster men's basketball fell to a hot shooting Principia squad, 77-57.
The Blue Jays fall to 12-8 overall and 8-5 in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, falling to third place.
"This was a tough shooting night for the Blue Jays," said Westminster Head Coach Matt Mitchell. "We had early foul trouble which forced us to put in odd combinations and hurt our offensive rhythm. Principia had a lot more energy than us tonight and they got to a lot more 50/50 balls."
The Panthers shot over 55% from the field to overcome the Blue Jays, who never quite found an offensive rhythm.
In the low-scoring affair, Westminster had just scored one basket in the opening eight minutes of the game, going over six minutes without scoring a basket. At the 12:11 mark, Stu Hollandsworth broke the scoring drought to make the score 14-4 in favor of Principia.
The scoring struggles continued for Westminster, going down 21-8 with under 10 minutes remaining in the half. A layup from Collin Caywood put the Blue Jays in double digits at the 8:59 mark which sparked an 8-0 run, including back-to-back three-pointers from Caywood and Hayden Drace.
After Principia pulled ahead again by double-digits, points by Hollandsworth, Carter Wands, and Caywood put Westminster back within five. Caywood finished the half with a layup to finish the first 20 minutes down 35-27.
In the opening minutes of the second half, both teams traded buckets, including five points from C. Wands. Despite a strong performance from Wands, Principia still managed to maintain a double-digit lead. With just under 10 minutes remaining, the Panthers went on an 8-0 run to take their biggest lead of the game at 66-48.
Freethrows from Kobe Wands and Hayden Drace broke the scoring drought, but Principia went on another 9-0 run to end the game. Nolan Huot hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to make the final score 77-57.
K. Wands led all scorers wtih 19 points, adding six rebounds. Caywood added 10 points on 4-12 shooting.
Westminster travels to Fontbonne Saturday for a 3 p.m. tip.