After taking down a winless Principia College (Ill.) team in the regular-season finale 89-67 on Monday, Feb. 18 at Grant Gymnasium, the Gorloks will head to Louisville, Ky., on Friday, Feb. 22 as the No. 4 seed in the 2013 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship tournament.
Webster will go up against the conference’s No. 1-seeded team, the Spalding University (Ky.) Golden Eagles in Round 1 at 7 p.m. Spalding ended the regular season with an 18-7 overall record and a 15-1 SLIAC mark to give the Golden Eagles the regular-season crown.
The Gorloks claimed the fourth seed in the four-team tournament with a 14-11 overall record and an 11-5 record in conference play.
Webster coach Chris Bunch complimented the Spalding defense as being solid, and he said the Gorloks will have to handle the ball better and be wiser with their shots in the game.
“Minimizing turnovers are going to be at a premium,” Bunch said. “Good shot selection will be key. We’re going to have to play efficiently offensively and make sure we get the best shots that we can get.”
Webster had an identical SLIAC and overall record as MacMurray College (Ill.). The SLIAC’s tiebreaker process gave Webster the edge with Webster going 1-3 against the conference’s top two teams — Spalding and Westminster College (Mo.) — and the Highlanders going 0-4 versus the Golden Eagles and Blue Jays.
Webster dropped both meetings with Spalding this season, losing by 30 points in Louisville and 73-64 on senior night at Grant Gymnasium. In the second matchup, Spalding was without one of the conference’s best players, guard Dewhon McAfee. Despite not playing since Feb. 9 at Greenville College (Ill.), where McAfee tore his anterior crucial ligament, McAfee still led the SLIAC with 20.5 points per game in 2012-2013.
Spalding forward Jametrius Brasher led the conference with a 65.7 field-goal percentage. Right behind him, though, is Webster junior center Jarrod Huskey (64.8 percent).
“The games that we have played against him and have won in the past two or three years I would dare say we held (Brasher) from having a real big game,” Bunch said. “How Jarrod (Huskey) does against him individually and how we do against him collectively is going to be a key part of the game.”
The other matchup in Louisville before the Webster-Spalding game is between Eureka College (Ill.) (17-8, 12-4 SLIAC) and Westminster (19-6, 12-4 SLIAC), the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds, respectively. Head to head this season, the two teams split their meetings with the home team winning each time. Eureka was the only team to hand Spalding a conference loss this season.
If Webster prevails in an upset over the Golden Eagles, the Gorloks will play the winner of the Eureka-Westminster contest. Webster split its games with both Westminster and Eureka in 2012-2013. The SLIAC tournament championship game will be Saturday, Feb. 23 at 6 p.m.
—Tim Doty contributed to this report.