Gorloks top Blue Jays, reach first place

GALE WHITEHEAD /The Journal Webster University junior guard Willie Trimble makes a layup in a win over Westminster College on Jan. 19 in the Grant Gymnasium. Trimble scored 14 points in the 57-48 victory over the Blue Jays.

By John Pohl

With a little more than 14 minutes left in the game, Webster University’s men’s basketball team trailed undefeated conference leader Westminster College, 34-26. That’s when freshman center Jarrod Huskey flew through the air, swatted away a would-be basket and electrified the crowd, sparking the Gorloks to a 57-48 comeback win over the Blue Jays on Jan. 19 at Grant Gymnasium.
The win over the Blue Jays, coupled with victories over Greenville College on Jan. 22 and Principia College on Jan. 25, moved Webster into sole possession of first place in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
The sensational block had the Webster student section standing and cheering for the rest of the game.
“Plays like that always give your kids a lift,” said Webster coach Chris Bunch. “The crowd was buzzing and had more energy; it was a big play.”
Huskey was more interested in the team’s win instead of focusing on his block.
“I don’t really remember the play; they all kind of run together,” Huskey said. “The win gets us closer to the conference championship.”
With 11 minutes left in the game, the crowd was cheering, “Robby, Robby,” when senior Robby Meeh hit back-to-back shots to cut the lead to five, 43-38.
Meeh was outstanding on both ends of the floor. He scored 12 points and had 11 rebounds, including nine offensive rebounds.
“Robbie was unreal,” Bunch said. “I never had a kid in 22 years of coaching get that many offensive rebounds in a game. He was the MVP of the game.”
Senior Nick Jones, who struggled to find his shooting touch, grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back in, and Webster was only down one. A minute later, Jones found Huskey cutting to the basket, and the Gorloks had the lead for good. Webster shot a dismal 29 percent from the field and even worse from the 3-point arc, but still managed to beat the Blue Jays with tenacious defense and offensive rebounding.
“If you would have told me before the game we were going to shoot 29 percent, I would have thought we would get blasted,” Bunch said. “We didn’t turn it over much, only nine for the game, and we did a good job of offensive rebounding.”
The Gorloks defense switched from a 2-3 zone to a 1-3-1 zone and to a man-to-man defense to throw off Westminster.
“Part of what we did was picking up the defensive intensity,” Meeh said. “We got a lot of opportunities because we missed a lot of shots and we were getting the ball back. It bounced our way.”
Junior guard Willie Trimble led Webster with 14 points. Senior forward Drew Moore and Meeh each pulled down 11 rebounds.
The Gorloks did not have much time to celebrate the win, as they traveled to Greenville College for another difficult St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) game on Jan. 22. Webster shut down the Panthers offense and romped to their ninth straight victory, 59-45.
“There is no rest for the weary,” Bunch said. “If you are driving a car, you can’t keep looking in the rearview mirror.”
Trimble had 12 points, nine assists and four steals to lead Webster over Greenville. Jones had 16 points, tops on the Gorloks.
The Gorloks’ 10th straight win came a few days later at Principia College. Webster had to rally from a 13-point halftime deficit to beat the Panthers, 67-57, on Jan. 25.
Jones led the Gorloks in scoring again with 15 points. Webster, now 13-4 overall (8-1 in the SLIAC), is a half-game ahead of Westminster for the conference lead. A showdown against the 10-7 Blue Jays (7-1 in the SLIAC) is set for Feb. 16 in Fulton.
Webster’s next game is at Eureka College on Jan. 29.

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