Spencer Gay's 21 Points Leads Bears Past Tsinghua, 80-70
St. Louis, Mo., December 3, 2010 – The Washington University in St. Louis men’s basketball team picked up a 80-70 victory in front of a crowd of more than 2,000 during an exhibition contest with visiting Tsinghua University from the People’s Republic of China on the first day of the 27th Annual Lopata Classic at the WU Field House on Friday, Dec. 3.
The victory for the Bears was their 23rd-straight in the Lopata Classic dating back to 1999.
Senior forward Spencer Gay led all scorers with 21 points, while Tsinghua’s point guard Lingxu Zeng came close to recording a triple-double in his leading effort for Tsinghua, finishing the game with 17 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds.
A lay-up from Washington University junior Alex Toth lifted the Bears to a 7-2 lead during the opening moments of the game, but Tsinghua rebounded quickly with back-to-back three pointers from Xiadong Zhu to take an 8-7 lead.
After three ties and a pair of lead changes, Washington University assumed control of the game, utilizing an 11-0 run to grab a 10-point advantage. The Bears drained three long-range buckets during that crucial stretch, two from senior Caleb Knepper and another from freshman Alan Aboona, to pull ahead 26-16 halfway through the opening period.
Lingxu Zeng scored five unanswered points later in the half to cut the Washington University lead to just five, 30-25, but Washington University answered with a 6-0 run of its own to grab an 11-point lead following a lay-up from Gay, and the Bears took a nine point lead into the half.
Gay led all scorers in the first half with 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Lingxu Zeng and Xiadong Zhu paced Tsinghua with eight points apiece, with Lingxu Zeng also tallying five rebounds and five assists. Washington University shot 50.0 percent (17-of-34) from the field in the first half, while Tsinghua shot 43.3 percent (13-of-30).
Tsinghua shot just 1-of-4 with four turnovers to start the second half, as Washington University took a 14-point lead, 49-35, with another three from Knepper, his fourth of the game. The Bears maintained a double-digit lead for the duration of the second half, and they led by as many as 22 points late in the game.
Knepper finished with 14 points and Aboona tallied 10 points to join Gay in double figures. Xiadong Zhu notched a team-high 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting for Tsinghua and he was a blistering 6-of-9 from three-point range.
The teams shot similar percentages from the floor, with the Bears shooting 44.4 percent and Tsinghua 45.8 percent, but Tsinghua turned the ball over 22 times and the Bears held a 25-15 advantage in points off turnovers.
Washington University (2-3) concludes play in the 27th Annual Lopata Classic on Saturday, Dec. 4, at 8 p.m., against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges. The Stags dropped a 64-63 decision to No. 15 ranked Franklin & Marshall College in the opening game on Friday.