Men’s Basketball: No. 1 Seed Webster Hosts SLIAC Tourney Feb. 27-28

| February 25, 2015
The SLIAC number one seeded Webster University men's basketball team will host the conference tournament Feb. 28-March 1.

SLIAC’s number one seeded Webster University men’s basketball team will host the conference tournament Feb. 27-28

The Webster University men’s basketball team clinched a share of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) title with a 78-67 win at Greenville College (Illinois) on Feb. 24. With the win, the Gorloks also clinched the number one seed in the SLIAC Tournament and will host the tournament on Feb. 27-28.

The Gorloks seemed like a longshot for first place just two weeks ago after a loss at Iowa Wesleyan College left them at 8-5 and in a tie for third place in the SLIAC. But Webster stormed back, winning its final five conference games in a row to finish at 13-5 and in a tie with Spalding University (Kentucky) and MacMurray College (Illinois). It is the first time the Gorloks finished in first place since 2011-12 when they won the title outright.

Webster gets the number one seed via the conference tie-breaker, which is based on a team’s record against the next lowest team in the standings on down. The Gorloks sweep of fourth place Fontbonne University gave them the edge.

Next Up: Webster v. Fontbonne Feb. 27

The Gorloks, 17-8 overall on the season, will take on the number four seed, Fontbonne University, at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 27 at Grant. Spalding will take on MacMurray in the other semi-final at 6 p.m.  The winners will advance to the championship game on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. at Grant. The tournament winner receives an automatic berth in the NCAA III Championships.

Webster v. Greenville Feb. 24 Game Highlights

Sophomore Hunter Ward carried the Gorloks to a 40-30 halftime lead. Ward had 16 points on 5-5 shooting from the three-point line for the half.  Ward also had a team-high three rebounds as Webster only had nine total rebounds for the half. But the Gorloks shot 15-27 (56 percent) to take the lead. Ward would finish with a game-high 25 points, shooting 9-16 from the field and tying for the team lead with eight rebounds.

Webster extended the lead to 47-32 in the first two minutes of the second half. The Gorloks still led, 52-42, with 14:50 remaining but a Greenville 8-2 run cut Webster’s lead to 54-50 with 9:53 left in the game.

That is as close as the Panthers would come as senior Ahmad Smith hit a three on Webster’s next possession and Webster extended the lead back to 61-50. Smith finished with 18 points, adding to his second all-time high career total points for Webster. Smith, the SLIAC’s leading scorer, now has 1329 points for his career.  Smith moved into fourth place on Webster’s all-time free throw list with five in the game. Smith has 229 for his career, surpassing Ryan Turk (2005-08), who had 228.

The Gorloks raced to a 30-14 lead at 9:00 in the first half. Greenville cut the margin to 35-26 with 5:00 left in the half but Webster entered the locker room with a 40-30 lead at the break.

 

Sophomore C. J. Moore hit double figures as well, with 12 points. Junior Taylor Walton came off the bench for Webster and tied Ward for the team-high with eight rebounds and chipped in with five points.

Webster was outrebounded 46-27 but committed only eight turnovers, tying its season low in that category. The only blemish on the Gorloks’ night was a 12-29 shooting performance from the free throw line.

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