By Josh Sellmeyer
The second longest winning streak in the history of Webster men’s hoops is over.
The men’s basketball team fell to the Blackburn College Beavers 74-71 on Feb. 9 in Grant Gymnasium, ending the Gorloks’ winning streak at 12. Blackburn’s Chris Williams lit up Webster for 32 points, 21 of which came in the first half.
Williams hit 11 of 15 field goals and was 6 of 7 from the free throw line. His huge first half helped the Beavers to a 50-33 halftime lead.
“He made a lot of tough shots and got confident,” Webster coach Chris Bunch said. “We let some guys that can shoot it get some confidence and they scored. It was hard to put the clamps on them then.”
Webster had defeated the Beavers in an away game on Jan. 4, 94-63. Bunch did not think that the blowout victory had any bearing on the way the Gorloks played the second time around.
“We have not played well for two weeks,” Bunch said. “We need to start playing with more urgency. They scored 50 points in the first half and 24 in the second. We just weren’t here tonight defensively. We weren’t ready.
“I don’t think the last game had anything to do with it. We beat Principia by 30 and went up there and were down 17 to them. We were up 20 on Eureka the whole game here, and we went up there and won by five. If anything, they should have learned their lesson.”
Sophomore guard Cody Bradfisch scored 21 points off the bench to lead Webster. Bradfisch helped the Gorloks mount a late comeback. With one minute and a half left and Webster down 71-68, Bradfisch stole an errant pass, got fouled and made both of his free throws to cut the Beavers’ lead to one.
Bradfisch hit one of two free throws with 45 seconds remaining to tie the game, 71-71. Williams scored a two-point field goal for Blackburn the next trip down the court. Bradfisch had a chance to tie the game again, but missed a layup.
Blackburn made one of two free throws to extend their lead to three with 8.7 seconds left. The Gorloks missed a pair of 3-pointers, including one at the buzzer, and the Blackburn players began to celebrate their huge upset.
“We were probably complacent with them and didn’t take them as seriously as we should have,” Bradfisch said. “Hopefully it will be a good learning test for us and we can fix it. We didn’t have much defense tonight collectively. That starts with me and everyone else. We’re going to get better and hopefully we can learn from this.”
The win improved Blackburn’s record to 5-17 (2-11 in St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play). Webster dropped to 15-5 overall and 10-2 in the SLIAC. They are now tied with Spalding University for the SLIAC lead. The Gorloks will face Spalding at home in their next game, which is on Feb. 11 at 8 p.m.
“We regroup by coming to practice prepared and working harder at practice so it can translate in games,” Bradfisch said. “Michael Jordan used to say, ‘Practice should be the hardest thing you face, and that will make the games much easier.’ That’s what we need to get to and then come out Friday against Spalding ready to play for a full 40 minutes.”