Sunday, February 28, 2016

Spalding University Comes Up Short in SLIAC Title Game

Westminster 61

Spalding 59

Final from Jacksonville, Illinois

Game recap by SU:

JACKSONVILLE, Ill. – The Spalding University men's basketball team saw their season come to an end as they came up just short against Westminster, 61-59. The loss sees the Golden Eagles finish with a record of 13-14, while the Blue Jays advance to the NCAA tournament with SLIAC's automatic bid.

Junior Nick Trisko left it all on the floor as he claimed a double-double with 11 points and 18 rebounds. James Turner led the Golden Eagles in points 18 points. Rylan Rowe was right behind with 12 points on the afternoon. Westminster was led by tournament MVP Nick Carlos, who finished with 24 points.

Westminster would get the game's opening basket around the 18 minute mark. Spalding would use a 6-0 run to overtake the Blue Jays with just over six minutes played in the opening half. Spalding used a 6-4 advantage as they gained their largest lead to that point at 12-6. The Blue Jays offense would awaken around the ten minute mark as they went on a 7-0 run to regain the lead at 13-12. James Turner would go on a 6-0 run all by himself hitting two three-point field goals and Spalding retook the lead at 18-13 with just over seven minutes remaining in the half. Nick Carlos would hit a jumper and Westminster trimmed the lead down to just two points. With less than two minutes remaining in the first half and the shot clock winding down, Turner hit a triple fading away from the basket and Spalding pushed their lead back to six, 27-21. Westminster closed out the first half with a 4-2 advantage, including a tough jumper by Carlos as time expired and Spalding went into the break leading, 29-25.

Spalding came out in the second on a 6-0 run before Carlos hit a three-point field goal and saw Spalding's lead trimmed to four, 35-31. Westminster used a 6-0 run to earn their first lead of the second half at 38-37 with six minutes gone. From this point, it was a constant power struggle as the teams couldn't separate themselves. The Golden Eagles were maintaining a three point lead when Westminster used another 6-0 run to jump in front 56-53 with just under two minutes to play. Dominique Ellis hit a big three to knot the game at 56-56 and keep Spalding's hope alive. After a pair of made free throws, the Blue Jays got a crucial steal and ran down the floor for a thunderous slam. Trisko hit a jumper with four seconds remaining and put Spalding a position to foul. Westminster led 61-58 after the trip to the free-throw line and elected to foul Turner off the miss. He hit the first and did an excellent job missing the second to give Spalding a chance at the put back. Unfortunately, the tip was too strong and time expired on the Golden Eagles' season.

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