Alan Aboona's 26 Points Leads WUSTL Past Wilmington, 73-62
BOX | HIGHLIGHTS
St. Louis, Mo., November 30, 2012 – Junior guard Alan Aboona scored a career-high 26 points and connected on a tournament record 14-of-14 free-throws to lead the No. 10 ranked Washington University in St. Louis men's basketball team to a 73-62 win over Wilmington College Friday in the opening round of the 29th Annual Lopata Classic.
Aboona tied his career-high with 10 rebounds and added five assists in the win, recording the second double-double of his career. Aboona leads NCAA Division III connecting on 23-of-23 free-throws in 2012-13, and broke the single-game tournament record of free-throws made (13) set by Scott Fiedler in 1990 vs. Rhodes College.
“It was really just [that] breaking their press was our offense. They almost sold out on their press, so once we broke the press, we had other options available,” Aboona said. “We didn't really run much of our offense today, which is something we're not really used to, but once we headed down, I feel like we found their gaps and really exposed them.
Junior forward Chris Klimek added 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field, and upped his conference-best field goal percentage to .742 (46-62). Sophomore forward Matt Palucki chipped in with 11 points and nine rebounds in the win.
Washington U. shot 52.4 percent (22-42) from the field and 77.1 percent (27-35) from the foul line in the win. The Bears outrebounded Wilmington 43-18, and is plus 18.3 through the first six games of the season.
Washington University (6-0) advances to the Lopata Classic championship game to take on No. 7 ranked Illinois Wesleyan University Saturday at 8 p.m. Illinois Wesleyan (5-1) scored the last 12 points of the game en route to a 71-62 over Tufts University in the opening contest. Brady Zimmer had 15 points to lead IWU, while Kevin Reed added 12 points and nine boards off the bench.
Wilmington (1-3) jumped out 11-4 in the opening five minutes of play, forcing five turnovers by Washington U. with its full court press and 11-man rotation. A three-pointer by Klarke Ransom gave the Quakers a 19-13 lead, as Wilmington scored 11 of its first 19 points off WUSTL turnovers.
A three-pointer from the corner by Malcolm Heard II and a jumper by R.J. Leppert pushed Wilmington’s advantage to its largest of the game at 28-17 with 7:55 to play. The Bears mounted a comeback on the back of Klimek, whose three-point play got the deficit under double digits at 28-20.
Washington U. scored the final five points of the first half on a pair of free-throws by junior guard Kevin Bischoff and a deep three-pointer by Aboona at the buzzer to tie the score at 37-37. The Bears shot 61.9 percent (13-21) in the first half and outrebounded Wilmington 16-7. The Quakers converted on 12 turnovers by Washington U. in the first half for 16 points. Klimek had 15 points and Aboona added 11.
The Bears quickly got the lead to five (45-40) following back-to-back lay-ups by junior guard Tim Cooney, which forced a timeout by Wilmington. The lead grew to 11 (55-44) with 11:19 to play on consecutive buckets by Palucki, but the Quakers would not go away.
Tyler Jordan’s dunk cut the lead to four (59-55), and then after a turnover by Washington U., a pair of free-throws by Dwight Johnson made it a two-point ball game. Another turnover by Washington U. gave Wilmington a chance to tie, but Jordan made 1-of-2 free-throws to keep it a one-point game at 59-58 with 4:36 remaining.
That would be as close at Wilmington would get as a three-point play by Aboona got the lead back to six (64-58) with 3:00 left. Aboona made six-straight free-throws in the final minute and gathered a rebound on a missed three-pointer by Heard with 37 seconds left to record his double-double.
Heard (13), Brandon Candella (13) and Ranson (10) all scored in double figures for Wilmington, who forced 23 turnovers in the loss. The Quakers had a 28-6 advantage in points off turnovers but connected on just 6-of-17 from the foul line
Bear Notebook: This was the first meeting between Washington U. and Wilmington … The Bears have won 27-straight games in the Lopata Classic, and have not lost since an 81-75 setback against Illinois Wesleyan in 1998 … Washington U. is 2-0 at home in this season, and an 81-11 (.880) record dating back to the 2005-06 season … The Bears have outrebounded all six of their opponents this season.