Alan Aboona's Off-Balance Three-Pointer Sends Game to Overtime
St. Louis, Mo., December 18, 2010 – Senior Spencer Gay and junior Dylan Richter each scored 21 points as the Washington University in St. Louis men’s basketball team posted an 83-75 overtime victory over No. 12 ranked Illinois Wesleyan on Saturday afternoon at the WU Field House in St. Louis, Mo.
Gay, who scored nine of his 21 points in overtime after being held scoreless in the first half, was 6-of-9 from the field and 9-of-12 from the foul line. Richter hit 7-of-12 from the field, including 5-of-8 from three, and added a career-high six assists as he played all 45 minutes in the victory.
The Bears shot a season-high 54.9 percent (28-51) from the field and hit 19-of-27 from the foul line. Washington University’s bench outscored Illinois Wesleyan, 22-12, led by nine points from freshman Alan Aboona and a career-high eight points and six rebounds from sophomore Robert Burnett.
“We have played good teams all semester, and one lesson we learned is that we have to compete each night,” said Washington University head coach Mark Edwards. “This was a great Division III basketball game as both teams played great defense and hit some big shots. Our bench came in and made an immediate impact. They were in there to contribute and they did that.”
Seniors Sean Johnson (29 points) and Doug Sexauer (19 points) each scored in double figures for Illinois Wesleyan, which dropped their second game of the year against a member of the University Athletic Association (UAA). The Titans suffered an 83-78 defeat at home against the University of Chicago on Dec. 4.
Washington University trailed 68-65 with 6.8 seconds left in regulation after a pair of free-throws from Sexauer. The Bears moved the ball up the court to Aboona, who launched an off-balance three-pointer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.
“Alan hit the big shot of the game for us to send it into overtime,” added Edwards. “He did not have much of an option as the ball was in his hands with the buzzer about to go off. That was just one of a few big shots our team hit today.”
The Bears pounded the ball inside to Gay in overtime, as he scored the first five points of the extra period as the Bears took the 73-70 lead. Back-to-back steals on the defensive end by sophomore Max Needle resulted in three free-throws by the Bears to make it 76-70. Following two free-throws by Johnson, Gay hit an off-balance jumper from the baseline with 43 seconds left as the shot clock was running down to make it 78-72.
Illinois Wesleyan (7-2) started the game quickly as Sexauer had five of the first eight points of the game as the Titans led 8-0. A three-pointer by Richter at the 15:26 mark was the Bears first bucket of the game. His three ignited a 9-1 run as Washington University tied the contest at 9-9 on a lay-up by freshman Tim Cooney.
A three-pointer by senior Matt Schick put the Titans back up by six (20-14), but back-to-back three-pointers from Aboona and Richter tied the game. The Bears got a stop on the defensive end, and then a long jumper by Richter gave Washington U. its first lead of the game at 22-20.
The Bears held onto a 26-23 with 3:27 to play, but two three-pointers by Johnson with less than two minutes remaining gave Illinois Wesleyan the 31-30 advantage at halftime. The score was tied four times in the first half, and there were two lead changes.
Richter had 11 points in the first half to lead the Bears, who shot 50 percent (13-26) from the field and hit 3-of-8 from three-point range. Sexauer also had 11 points of 5-of-7 shooting, as the Titans had 10 assists on 11 field goals in the opening half.
Illinois Wesleyan quickly built a six-point lead (38-32) just two minutes into the first half before a timeout by Edwards. The Bears would continue to trail by five at 45-40, but a step-back three from Richter and a lay-up from Burnett knotted the score at 45-45 with 13:47 remaining.
A three-pointer by Richter with 3:58 to play gave the Bears their first lead (59-58) since the 19:50 mark of the second half. A steal and a bucket and a free-throw by senior Travis Rosenkranz with 1:15 to play gave the Titans a 66-64 lead. The Bears cut the lead to one (66-65) after a free-throw by sophomore Ben Hoener with 46.3 to play. The Titans got an open three for Johnson, but his shot was off the mark and rebounded by Sexauer, who was fouled with 6.8 seconds remaining.
The Bears will have 16 days off before returning to action on Tuesday, Jan. 4, at home against Benedictine University. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. at the WU Field House.
Bear Notebook: Washington University trails the all-time series with Illinois Wesleyan, 18-13 … The Bears have a 62-6 (.912) record at home dating back to the 2005-06 season … The game had 13 lead changes and the score was tied nine times … Gay has scored in double figures in eight of nine games played this season.