Washington U. Captures Lopata Classic With 67-57 Over Illinois Wesleyan
BOX | PHOTO | HIGHLIGHTS
St. Louis, Mo., December 1, 2012 – The No. 10 ranked Washington University in St. Louis men’s basketball team captured the 29th Annual Lopata Classic with a 67-57 win over No. 7 Illinois Wesleyan University Saturday at the WU Field House in St. Louis.
Junior guard Alan Aboona earned the Robert L. Burnes Most Valuable Player Award after scoring 15 points on 3-of-7 shooting from three-point range and 4-of-5 from the foul line in the win over Illinois Wesleyan. Aboona averaged 20.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game in the tournament and broke the record for free-throws made with 18.
“I thought our rebounding really picked up in the second half,” Aboona said. “The first half they really outrebounded us, that's why the hung around in the game. Once we shored up all those offensive tip-ins they had, we really turned it around and ran our offense.”
Washington University junior Chris Klimek, Illinois Wesleyan’s Michael Mayberger and Kevin Reed, Tufts’ Scott Anderson and Wilmington’s Brandon Candella were also named to the All-Tournament Team. Klimek averaged 13.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game for Washington U. and shot 73.3 percent (11-15) from the field.
Washington University picked up its 13th-straight and 22nd overall Lopata Classic Championship, and improved its all-time classic record to 52-6. The Bears have won 28-straight games in the Lopata Classic, and have not lost since an 81-75 defeat to Illinois Wesleyan in 1998.
Junior guard Kevin Bischoff added a career-high 11 points off the bench on three three-pointers, while sophomore forward Matt Palucki had 11 points and five rebounds. Senior guard Ben Hoener had quality minutes of the bench with eight points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals.
The Bears limited Illinois Wesleyan to 33.3 percent (20-60) shooting from the field in the win, and had a 19-6 advantage in points off turnovers.
“The Lopata Classic is always a big tournament for us. We came in prepared and that's what I think what made us ready to play 40 minutes of good basketball,” Bischoff said.
Washington U. got in foul trouble early in the game as starting junior guard Tim Cooney picked up two quick fouls. Bischoff replaced Cooney and canned a three-pointer just over a minute after checking in to the game, and then Aboona followed with a three to put Washington U. up 9-5 with 15:14 to play.
Illinois Wesleyan, who missed seven of its first eight shots from the field, responded with back-to-back three’s by Mayberger and Parker Musselman to give the Titans the 11-10 lead. Bischoff followed with another three with 8:22 to play to make it 24-19 as he finished the first half with eight points and two assists in 13 minutes off the bench.
Mayberger, who’s father Joe played for Washington U. head coach Mark Edwards for four seasons, kept the Titans close with a three-point to trim the lead to one (24-23). He had nine points in the first half to lead Illinois Wesleyan. Each team’s bench scored 14 points in the first half as Washington U. led 37-29 at the break. Aboona led all scorers with 13 points in the first half. The Bears had an 11-0 advantage in points off turnovers despite being outrebounded 23-18.
Palucki went to the bench early in the second half and sophomore forward Nick Burt responded with a pair of buckets that got the lead to 10 (41-31) with 16:38 remaining. With Illinois Wesleyan in a zone, the Bears hit six of their first 10 shots from the field and a jumper from Palucki made it 51-36 with 12:38 to play before a timeout by IWU head coach Ron Rose.
The Titans went back to man-to-man defense and Washington U. continued to shred the IWU defense as an 8-0 run pushed the lead to its largest of the game at 59-38 with 8:02 following a steal and a lay-up by Cooney. Illinois Wesleyan would not got away and cut the lead to 59-45 after seven-straight points, but Bischoff found Klimek on the ensuing play to get the lead back to 16 (61-45).
Mayberger led all scorers with a career-high 22 points on 5-of-9 three-point shooting. Reed added six points and 11 rebounds for Illinois Wesleyan (5-2), who turned the ball over 15 times in the loss.
Washington University (7-0) begins a two-game road trip at Webster University Wednesday, Dec. 5. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. The Gorloks have a 4-2 overall record and have won three-straight games.
Bear Notebook: Illinois Wesleyan leads the all-time series between the two teams 19-14, and Washington U. snapped a two-game losing streak to the Titans … Washington U. is 3-0 at home in this season, and an 82-11 (.882) record dating back to the 2005-06 season … The Bears were outrebounded for the first time this season, 39-34.