The Westminster men’s basketball team losses a nail-biting double overtime loss to the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s (SLIAC) undefeated Spalding University. The Blue Jays came up short, 82-85.
After the Blue Jays held the lead for the first nine minutes of the game, the Spalding Golden Eagles took the 17-15 lead. The Blue Jays battled for it back, taking it twice before the Golden Eagles took control. The Blue Jays headed into halftime down 30-34.
Three minutes into the second half, the Blue Jays took the 37-36 lead, but the Golden Eagles quickly tied the game and then took back the lead. The Blue Jays tied the game up for the eighth time with 6:02 remaining in the game, but the Golden Eagles held on to the lead. With 1:55 remaining in the game, a layup by senior Travis Cleveland tied up the game at 67-67.
The Blue Jays fouled, and the Golden Eagles sunk their two free throws, putting them up by 2, 69-67, with 1:32 remaining. Twelve seconds later, junior Verdis Lee Jr. was fouled and headed to the foul line. He sunk both, tying the game back up. It came down to the final seconds and Spalding had the ball. The Golden Eagles went to shoot and Lee Jr. blocked the ball. The Blue Jays grabbed the rebound, but time ran out, sending the game into overtime.
The Blue Jays held the lead throughout the first overtime, but with 31 seconds remaining, the Golden Eagles were able to drive the ball into the paint and put a bucket in to tie the game at 77-77.
The Blue Jays quickly took the lead in the second overtime, but the Golden Eagles were able to take control with 2:48 remaining in the game (81-80). James put down two free throws, taking back the lead, but the Golden Eagles countered with two good free throws of their own. The Blue Jays attempted a three but could not find the net. A Blue Jay foul with 7 seconds remaining in the second overtime sent the Golden Eagles to the line for two; the Golden Eagles sank both. The Blue Jays made their way down the court and shot off a three, but could not put it in, ending the game with an 82-85 loss.
The Blue Jays scored more than half of their points from the free throw line after going 24-for-30 in the second half alone. They ended with 43 made free throws, shooting 81.1% from the foul line. James went perfect from the line, draining 12-for-12, and Lee Jr. went 12-for-15. Lee Jr. finished the night with 24 points and two blocks. Senior Jordan Jones went 9-for-10 from the foul line, ending the night with 11 points, two assists, two blocks and one steal.
The Blue Jays will host Principia College on Thursday, January 23. Tip off will be at 8:00 p.m.