Beavers are SLIAC tournament bound!
Blackburn earns spot with pair of overtime wins, Webster loss
ST. LOUIS (Feb. 22, 2018) – Not like doing anything the easy way. The Blackburn College Beavers qualified as the number three seed in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball tournament after a pair of overtime wins coupled with a Webster loss to Greenville on Saturday.
The Beavers (14-1) finished in a three-way tie for third place, getting the third seed with Westminster getting the fourth seed and Webster, also 10-8 being left out of the tournament.
The wins secures Blackburn’s first winning season since 2005-06, also its last trip to the tournament.
Blackburn plays Eureka at 6 p.m. Thursday at Greenville University. The two teams split earlier matchups, each winning on the home floor. This will be in a neutral environment.
“We are very thankful for the opportunity to go compete in the SLIAC tournament and we love our chances given that we have beaten every team in it,” said Blackburn head coach Steve Kollar. “We hope we can get tremendous support from not only the school, but also the community. It’s been 12 year since Blackburn has made the tournament, so it’s been a while, and it’s great to be back.”
Blackburn 78, Webster 77 ot
Reed Rusten’s three-pointer with seven seconds left in overtime gave Blackburn College a needed 78-77 victory over Webster University Wednesday, keeping hopes alive for a possible tournament berth.
The Beavers improved to 13-11, 9-8 with the win. It was the fourth overtime game within the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference this season, having lost two and now winning the last two. Both games against Webster have gone to overtime. The Gorlocks won 76-73 in overtime on Jan. 13.
Blackburn led 33-29 at the half, but the Gorlocks forced overtime, tied 66-66.
Webster took a 77-75 lead with 25 seconds left on a layup by Christian Crespo. But Rusten had the heroics for Blackburn. Webster is now 13-11, 10-7.
Karson Hayes had 12 points; Rusten had 11 and Jordan Clay and Jamaya Wyatt had 10 points each.
Blackburn made 29 of 71 from the field and eight of 14 free throws.
Webster got 22 points from Nigel Wilcox and 16 from Crespo. Josh Johnson added 13 points. The Gorlocks made 29 of 60 from the field and 14 of 18 free throws.
Blackburn 82, Westminster 75 ot
Saturday’s contest was key for Blackburn, which needed a win and a Webster loss at Greenville to earn a spot in the tournament.
Both were accomplished. As Greenville was polishing off Webster 134-113, Blackburn notched an 82-75 overtime win at Westminster.
The loss didn’t affect the Blue Jays as they did sneak into the tournament as well.
“We are extremely proud of our young men and the resiliency that they have shown all year,” Kollar said. “Winning back-to-back overtime games to get us into the conference tournament further demonstrates that. Our guys are playing their best basketball down the stretch and continue to be bought into one another and play for each other. That is the main reason we are here, we have a group that is playing for the guy next to them and nobody cares who gets the credit.”
The game was tied 27-27 at half and 66-66 at the end of regulation. It was the second straight game the Beavers were tied 66-66 after regulation.
It was the fifth overtime game in the conference for Blackburn this season.
Heroics Saturday came from Hayes, who scored 38 points on 13 of 19 from the field, including five of seven from three-point range, to lead Blackburn to victory.
Duncan King added 10 points. Malcolm Scott had nine points and 11 rebounds; an Nigel Ferrell had nine points three assists.
Kobe Wands had 22 points, while Stu Hollandsworth had 19 points for Westminster. Carter Wands had 14 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.
Blackburn shot 28 of 64 from the field and 17 of 25 from the foul line with 13 turnovers; Westminster had 23 of 62 from the field, 25 of 31 at the foul line with 15 turnovers. But the Blue Jays made just four of 26 three-pointers.
Webster 75, Blackburn 45
Blackburn shot 25 percent from the field (14-56) in a 75-45 loss in the home finale to Webster on Wednesday night.
Webster (17-5, 11-3) led 18-8 after a quarter and 41-16 at halftime en route to the win. Blackburn is 2-21, 0-15.
Kate Smith had 11 points and four assists for Blackburn, and Jenna Dudra added 10 points. Gariel Pierce had 11 rebounds.
Mt. Olive native Breanna Henke had two points and two rebounds with three steals, tied for the team lead with Dudra.
Westminster 93, Blackburn 77
At St. Louis, the Beavers finished winless in the SLIAC, but Westminster had to earn its spot in the tournament by fending off the Beavers Saturday.
The Beavers (2-22, 0-16) were outscored 30-22 in the second quarter in falling behind 53-42 at halftime. Blackburn hung around before succumbing in the end.
Savannah Kruse had 14 points and nine rebounds for Blackburn. Dudra added 12 points, and Pierce and Kaylee Pedigo had 10 points each. Pedigo was five of five from the field.
Henke finished with four points, two rebounds and a block.
Blackburn shot 51 percent from the field at 33 of 65 and seven of 10 at the foul line.
One of the keys was the foul line, where Westminster made 25 of 31, outscoring the Beavers 25-7 at the foul line.
Kendahl Adams had 33 points on 12 of 13 from the foul line for Westminster. Mirrakohl Johnson added 25 points.
Blackburn’s men’s basketball team has qualified for the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for the first time in 12 years following two overtime wins in the past week. Photo provided by Blackburn College