GWYNEDD VALLEY, Pa. – The Westminster College men's basketball team lost, 63-61, to Rutgers-Newark in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championship Tournament Quarterfinals on Friday. Gwynedd Mercy University was the host.
Rutgers-Newark (17-12) had its largest lead of 14-7 with 13:45 left in the first half. Westminster (16-12) responded with a 13-2 run and led 20-16, tying its largest lead of the frame, with eight minutes left. The Titans did not trail for the rest of the half and the game was tied at 26 at halftime.
Westminster came out in the second half with an offensive surge, outscoring Rutgers-Newark 21-8 in the first 10 minutes. The Titans took their first double-digit lead (42-32) with 12:18 on the clock. Westminster had its largest lead of 13 points twice, with the latest coming at 49-36 (courtesy of a jumper by junior Josh Hutcherson (Uniontown, OH / Uniontown Lake)), with nine minutes to play. The Raiders chipped away at Westminster's lead and after a 25-10 run, Rutgers-Newark led by two (61-59) with 37 seconds remaining. On Westminster's ensuing possession, junior Daniel Ritter (North Lima, OH / South Range) tied the game, 61-61, with a pair of free throws with 26 seconds left. Following two offensive rebounds on Rutgers-Newark's next possession, the refs called a foul on the Titans with one second left. Jamir Patterson made both free throws to take the 63-61 lead. Following a timeout, Westminster had a chance for a last second game-winner for the second-straight game as Ritter threw an impressive full court-inbound pass, however, a three attempt by junior Isaac Stamatiades (Elkridge, MD / Avalon) just came up short.
Stamatiades, who was only player on the court to play all 40 minutes, registered game-highs in points (19) and rebounds (14) for his 14th double-double of the season. Hutcherson and Ritter also scored in double-digits with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Hutcherson also tied a career-high with seven rebounds and earned a team-high two blocks. Senior Preston Stitt (Boardman, OH / South Range) added eight points, to go along with a team-high four assists.