A rocky start to the second half due to poor shooting and defense proved to be the ultimate downfall for the Elmhurst Bluejays as they lost their fifth straight game by the score of 87-70 to the Big Blue of Millikin University.
The Big Blue scored the first seven points of the game and started out with a 15-5 lead five minutes into the first half. Trailing 35-22 with five minutes left in the first half, The Bluejays went on a 13-0 run to tie the game including sophomore guard Ryan Patton scoring eight consecutive points. After the game, Ryan was asked about the late resurgence from the Bluejays late in the first half.
“We are just a resilient bunch. We are still trying to figure things out but we always play hard and we never stop playing hard until the final buzzer” said Patton.
The Bluejays also got the Big Blue into a lot of foul trouble throughout the first half and converted on most of their free throws. Patton was asked about what all the fouls drawn showed about the teams toughness.
“We just try to go at them. We try to get to the rim, we try to pound it down low right in the beginning of the game. So that is why we drew a lot of fouls and led to a lot of those free throws” said Patton.
The poor second half play was mostly due to the Bluejays not being able to stop the stellar play from Millikin’s Zach Fisher. He finished the game with 33 points while shooting 13-of-17 from the floor including 6-of-8 from three point range.
Junior forward from Elmhurst Jeremy Ireland (who finished the game with 12 points) talked after the game about what made it difficult for the team to stop Fisher and his rapid scoring.
“He never stopped moving and he has a high and quick release on his shot. We gave him too much space and he got hot early” said Ireland.
Not only did Fisher contribute to Millikin’s victory, so did forward Elijah Henry who got himself a double-double by scoring 20 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Millikin also got great play from their bench mostly thanks to Michael Beaty who came off the bench to score 17 points.
This loss gave the Bluejays their fifth straight loss and are now 11-11 on the season as well as falling to 4-9 in CCIW conference play. The team looks to end this losing streak on Feb. 10 as they take on the Carthage College Red Men at Faganel Hall.