Men's Basketball Comeback Falls Short in 86-80 Loss to Rochester
St. Louis, Mo., January 16, 2011 — After facing a 21-point first-half deficit, the Washington University in St. Louis men’s basketball team pulled within two in the second half against the University of Rochester but the Bears were never able to complete the comeback as the Yellowjackets held on for a 86-80 victory in University Athletic Association (UAA) action on Sunday afternoon at the WU Field House in St. Louis, Mo.
Rochester (10-4, 2-1 UAA) was sharp from three-point range in the first half, hitting 6-of-12 long-range attempts to take a 41-26 lead into the half. The Yellowjackets used a 15-4 run that featured three three-pointers to break an early 6-6 tie and jump out to a 21-10 lead.
Washington University sophomore Robert Burnett scored to pull the Bears back within nine points 45 seconds later, but Rochester answered with another three, this time from Chris Dende to push its lead up to 12 and the Yellowjackets led by double figures for the rest of the half.
While Rochester hit six first-half three pointers, the Bears struggled from long-range, shooting 0-of-7. Washington U. also turned the ball over seven times, compared to just three turnovers for the visitors from Rochester, and the Yellowjackets held an 11-2 lead in points off turnovers at the intermission. The Bears did control the glass, outrebounding Rochester 20-14 in the first half and the Red and Green held a 12-3 advantage in second-chance scoring.
The second half took on a completely different tone from the outset, with the Bears beginning a furious comeback that saw them cut the Rochester lead to just two with 10 minutes to play.
Back-to-back three-pointers from junior Dylan Richter pulled the Bears to within 10 points, 44-34, and a lay-up from senior Spencer Gay at the 14:23 mark brought the deficit to just seven. Steadily the Red and Green continued to chip away, as Burnett scored a fourth time off an offensive rebound to make the score 48-42.
The momentum had really swung in Washington University’s favor when freshman Tim Cooney came away with a rebound off a Richter block on a Dende three-point attempt, taking the ball coast-to-coast for a three-point play.
With the Bears trailing by just two, Rochester was shooting 3-of-8 from the field and 2-of-8 from three in the second half, but Vernon snapped the Yellowjackets out of their funk with a three pointer, and the Rochester lead was back to eight thanks to another three from Mike Labanowski.
A pair of free-throws by sophomore Ben Hoener made it a one-possession game once again, with the Bears trailing just 66-63, but Rochester’s John DiBartolomeo scored four-straight to put the Yellowjackets back up by seven.
Cooney recorded the second double-double of his career with a personal-best 19 points to go along with 10 rebounds and a career-high six assists. Richter scored 17 points with three three-pointers and junior Alex Toth finished with 13 points. Six players finished in double figures for Rochester, with DeBartolomeo (19 points) and Labanowski (17 points) leading the way for the balanced Yellowjackets.
The Bears (6-8, 0-3 UAA) begin a stretch of six of eight games on the road with a pair of contests on the East Coast. Washington University takes on No. 25 New York University in the Big Apple on Friday, Jan. 21, at 8 p.m. (ET), followed by a game at No. 13 Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., on Sunday, Jan. 23, at 11:30 a.m. (ET).
Bear Notebook: Washington U. now leads the all-time series with Rochester, 30-19, and the Yellowjackets broke a two-game losing streak to the Bears … Rochester, who entered the game shooting a Division III best .532 from the field, was just the second team this season to shoot better than 45 percent against the Bears, finishing the game with a .491 team shooting percentage … The Bears had an 18-8 advantage in second-chance points.