Fulton, Mo. – The Westminster College men's basketball team had to wait one year and five days between games. The wait was worth it as the Blue Jays posted an 87-77 win in their season opener over the Fontbonne University Griffins. The win gives the Blue Jays a 34-33 lead in the all-time series between the two teams.
The game got off to a good start for the Blue Jays as freshman Braeden Wetrich connected on his first three pointer of the game off of a Jaxon Althaus assist gave the Blue Jays an early 8-4 lead. The Griffins would score the next nine points to take a 13-8 lead. A few moments later the Blue Jays would tie the game on a three-pointer by MacMurray College transfer Camron Jamison off of an Ethan Thompson assist at 13 all.
The Griffins would retake the lead at 15-13 and then Blue Jay reserve forward JJ Geier would score eight of the next 11 Westminster points to help the Blue Jays take a 24-20 lead. Back and forth the score would go as the game would see 14 ties and 16 lead changes. When Emil Spriggs hit a driving lay up to give the Blue Jays a 40-36 lead with 2:13 left in the first half the Griffins made a move to regain the lead by halftime going on a 7-0 spurt to take a 43-40 lead into the break.
The second half saw Fontbonne take their largest lead of the game at 48-42 just 1:32 into the second half. A Landon Harrison three-pointer cut the Griffin lead in half and on the next possession another Wetrich three, off of a Spriggs assist, tied the game at 48 with 16:50 left to play.
The teams would trade the lead several times over the next seven minutes. When Fontbonne took a 61-59 lead Jamison went to work for the Blue Jays. He would score the next seven Blue Jay points to help keep Westminster in the lead.
With the score tied at 70 the freshman Wetrich would continue his stellar debut by scoring the games next seven points to stake the Blue Jays to their biggest lead of the night so far at 77-70. In fact, Wetrich and Spriggs would combine to score the last 17 points for the Blue Jays and each would assist on the others made shots. That one two punch was too much for Fontbonne as the Blue Jays would prevail 87-77.
Wetrich, in his debut for the Blue Jays, scored a game high 23 including hitting 6-8 from three-point range. He was joined in double figures by Jamison with 14 off the bench. Althaus chipped in 13 to go along with six rebounds and three blocks, Harrison had 11 and a game high eight rebounds while Spriggs rounded out the double figure scorers with ten. Spriggs also led the team with six assists.
Westminster shot 55.9% for the game compared to Fontbonne at 45.2%. The Blue Jays also out shot the Griffins from the three-point line 50.0% to 35.3%. The Blue Jays controlled the glass outrebounding the Griffins 38-24.
The Blue Jays will be back in action on Wednesday March 3rd at Iowa Wesleyan University. The tip off is set for 7:30 p.m.