The Greenville University Men’s Basketball opened up the SLIAC conference against Westminster on December 4, 2019. Both teams have started the season off on a slow note. Westminster had a record of 1-5 before the game against Greenville. The Panthers had a record of 1-5 as well.
The Panthers beat the Blue Jays 132-131. Greenville was led by their upper-class, Riley Simmons, with 21 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. Sontiago Grady also had 21 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds. Rakim Murphy had 18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 block coming off the bench. They also had key production from other players such as Justin Cross who had 7 blocks. Elijah Wychers got his first start of the season and had 10 rebounds, 7 of those being offensive boards. Quincy Pinkard had 18 points and 5 rebounds. This was a well-rounded game in terms of scoring for the Panthers.
The Blue Jays were led by a trio of players with 30 or more points. Ethan Thompson had 30 points, 8 assists, and 4 rebounds. Jaxon Althaus scored 36 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists. The third player of the trio, Landon Harrison, had 31 points and 9 rebounds.
This game was an intense one as the Blue Jays took an early lead as they went up ten with 12 minutes to go in the first half. The Panthers then tied the game four minutes later when Austyn Contreras made a layup to tie the game at 32 apiece. Greenville finished the half leading the Blue Jays 61-54.
Coming out to start the second half, Simmons made three straight 3-pointers to get Greenville going. The Panthers pushed the lead up to 13 points with 11 minutes to go in the second half. The score was 102-89. Then Westminster started to gain some momentum and chip away at the score. They eventually tied the game 127-all with 2:10 to go in the game. The Blue Jays took the lead at 129-127 but the Panthers got a steal then a layup by Dustin Bankowski to tie the game. With a layup by Grady and a free throw made by Simmons, the Panthers went up 132-129. The Blue Jays had a chance to win the game in the end however, Barry Nixon played good defense to effect the three-point attempt by the Blue Jays player.
Greenville shot 50-109 on field goals at 45.9%. On threes, they shot 18-51 at 35%. The free throws were 63% at 14-22. They grabbed 54 rebounds and had 27 assists.
Westminster shot 55-98 is 56%. Three-pointers were at a clip of 11-29 at 39%. They shot 66% from the free-throw line at 10-15. They dished out 33 assists and grabbed 54 rebounds
Nixon commented on his defense on the last play of the game, “I tried to not let him get the ball because he was hitting shots all game. If he got the ball I wanted to try and make it difficult for him. I wanted to get him to take a shot he isn’t used to shooting.”
This was Bankowski’s first home conference game for the Greenville Panthers. He had a couple words to say about it. “I had some pregame jitters going on and when the game started I felt great especially with the great energy in the gym.”
Westminster Blue Jays are (1-6 0-1 SLIAC) on the season.
Greenville Panthers are (2-5, 1-0 SLIAC) and host Webster on Saturday at 3 p.m.
Media by Derreion Twitty