On Saturday, Dec. 9, the Blackburn men’s basketball team took on their SLIAC opponents from Eureka College. Despite it still being early in the season, the Beavers and Red Devils had a lot at stake—sole possession of first place in the conference standings. The game had been hyped up all week long and as the men came into the contest riding a three-game winning streak and boosting a 4-1 record; the team did not disappoint.
With both the stakes and adrenaline heightened, the team stunned fans when they fell behind 12-0 early in the first half to the Red Devils. After head coach Steve Kollar took a quick timeout, the team snapped back and took things into their own hands, quickly snatching the momentum and working a 20-7 run that gave them a one-point lead just past the halfway point.
Blackburn continued to gain momentum; they built themselves a 38-32 point lead heading into the half, but perhaps more impressive than their 18-point turnaround was their second half performance in which they outscored the Red Devils 40-29.
With sophomore point guard Marcus Bryant sidelined with a broken finger, there were minutes to go around and several players looking to step up. Freshmen Savion Smith and Bryson Kirby did just that. Smith lead his team in scoring with 13 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Kirby provided a pair of threes of 2-3 shooting from the three-point line, but his lock down defense on Eureka’s top player, Hank Thomas, proved key to Blackburn’s turnaround.
Their impressive play on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court earned the Beavers a 78-61 victory and first place in the SLIAC.