Westminster Men Lead Early In NCAA Road Loss 

Athletic News - Basketball(M) 

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Holland, Mich. – Westminster College grabbed the early lead in Friday’s NCAA Division III men's national tournament first-round game, but the Blue Jays could not hold off #1 and host Hope College in dropping a 79-65 decision in front of a crowd of 3475.

The Blue Jays (17-11), who were making their third NCAA tournament appearance and their second in three years, tied the game 6-6 early and built up a 22-17 advantage. Hope would rally, tying the score 28-28, and then used an 11-2 run to take a 41-32 lead into intermission. Westminster cut a 17-point deficit to nine on a couple of occasions late in the game, but Hope, which held a 41-25 rebounding advantage, moved into Saturday’s second-round game with Illinois Wesleyan University.

Freshman Verdis Lee (Fulton, Mo./Fulton) tallied a team-high 19 points. Senior Kurt Kovach (St. Peters, Mo./Fort Zumwalt South) closed out his career scoring 15 points and grabbing a team-high seven rebounds. Sophomore Joe James (S. Louis, Mo./Vianney) added 12 points and senior Kelsey Weymuth (Cole Camp, Mo./Cole Camp) chipped in nine points and six rebounds in his career finale. Seniors Dan Hohenstein (Fenton, Mo./Lutheran South) and Mark Wright (Ellisville, Mo./Parkway South) both saw action, marking the second national tournament appearances in their careers. Nate Snuggerud finished with 37 points for Hope (27-1).

In Other First-Round Action: John Koschnitsky scored a team-high 15 points to lead Illinois Wesleyan (21-7) to a 69-61 win over Wisconsin-Stevens Point (22-7)

NCAA Men’s Division III First/Second Rounds:
Hope College, Holland, Michigan

Friday, March 2
Illinois Wesleyan 69, Wisconsin-Stevens Point 61
#1 Hope 79, Westminster, Mo. 65
Saturday, March 3
6:00 CT: Illinois Wesleyan (20-7) at Hope (27-1)