WEBSTER GROVES, Mo. – The Westminster men's basketball team defeated Manchester 98-94 in a high-scoring game at the Webster Classic to earn their first win of the season. The Blue Jays move to 1-4 on the season.
Emil Spriggs got the scoring started with a jump shot six seconds into the game. Manchester took the lead with a three-pointer before a three-pointer from Ethan Thompson sparked an 18-6 run by the Blue Jays. The Spartans cut the lead to 27-23 with a layup with 8:43 to go in the half. Another three-pointer by Thompson and a pair of made free throws by Manchester brought the score to 30-25. The Blue Jays extended their lead to double-digits thanks to a basket by Spriggs, a pair of free throws by Jaxon Althaus and three points from Thompson to take a 37-27 lead. Westminster added four more three-pointers over the final four minutes-and-a-half minutes of the half and went into halftime with a 52-44 lead.
The Blue Jays shot 11-17 from three-point range in the first half. Thompson went 6-7 from behind the arc and put up 23 points in the half. Althaus and Landon Harrison each added 10 points in the half.
In the second half, Machester tied the game at 77-all with a 17-5 run with 5:48 on the clock. After a Westminster timeout, Thompson put the Blue Jays back in the lead with a three-pointer. The Spartans closed the gap to 80-79 with a layup. A jumper from Harrison gave Westminster a three-point lead before Manchester made a free throw to make the score 82-80. Althaus responded knocked down a pair of three-pointers to put Westminster up 88-82 with just under four minutes remaining in the game. The Spartans cut the lead to 89-86 until a three from Spriggs and two jump shots by Harrison put Westminster up 96-88 with 1:53 remaining.
Manchester scored the next five points to make it a two-point game with 17 ticks left on the clock. After three fouls by the Spartans prevented Westminster from running out the clock, Althaus was sent to the free-throw line with 10 seconds remaining. Althaus maintained his composure and made both free throws to extend the lead to 98-94. Manchester turned the ball over on their next possession and fouled Spriggs on the inbound pass. Spriggs went to the foul line with three seconds left and missed his free throw. The Spartans grabbed the rebound and put up a three-pointer that was of the mark and the Blue Jays held on for a 98-94 victory.
Thompson put up 28 points to lead all players and was one was three Blue Jays to score 20 points. He was joined by Althaus (26 points) and Harrison (21). Spriggs added 11 points, four assists, and five rebounds. Omar Wright led the team with six rebounds while Steven Brandt scored seven points off the bench. As a team, Westminster shot 52.9 percent from deep.
Althaus and Thompson each earned spots on the All-Tournament Team for their performances over the weekend.
Next up the Blue Jays will travel to Grinnell on Tuesday.