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SALT LAKE CITY - For the second straight night the 12th-ranked Westminster men's basketball team picked up a victory of William Jessup in the Behnken Field House. Saturday the Griffins earned an 89-72 victory to start the season 10-0 for just the second time in school history. Westminster was also 10-0 to start the 2008-09 season.
"This is a good win," head coach Tommy Connor said. "I am real proud of our guys because it is real tough to play a team back-to-back."
William Jessup (2-7) held its only lead of the game at 3-2 with 18:57 remaining in the first half. The Griffins took the lead on the next possession and never trailed again. It appeared that WJU would draw even as they trailed 26-24 with 6:47 to play in the half but, Westminster outscored the Warriors 10-1 over the final four minutes of the half to lead 38-26 at intermission.
After a basket by AJ Reilly to start the second half for the Griffins, William Jessup would never get within 13 the rest of the way. The Griffins would eventually push the lead to 26 three times down the stretch with the final time coming with 3:53 to play at 83-57.
Reilly finished the game with a career high 19 points on 6-of-7 shooting. He was a perfect 4-of-4 from beyond the arc as the team went 7-fo-15 (46.7%) from long range. The Griffins shot 60.4% as a team and were even better at 65% in the second half.
"I was thrilled to step up and shoot it tonight," Connor said of his junior guard. "He played with a good tempo tonight and I am really proud of the way he bounced back."
Jake Orchard also scored 19 points while grabbing a team-best six rebounds. Westminster outrebounded WJU 29-26 and turned seven offensive rebounds into 11 second chance points. Michael Stockton added 15 points, five rebounds, and five assists. The team had 15 assists on 29 made field goals and only turned the ball over 10 times.
On the defensive end, Westminster held the visitors to 46.8% shooting and forced 15 turnovers. The Griffins grabbed 10 steals, including three by Stockton. Westminster scored 25 points from those 15 turnovers and held a 36-20 advantage in points in the paint.
Eleazar Jones led William Jessup with 18 points off the bench. Damal Neil added 16 points while Anthony Anderson had 12. WJU shot 55.6% from beyond the arc.
Westminster will now have 14 days off before facing Point Loma Nazarene on December 18 in San Diego.