Spencer Gay Earns 27th Annual Lopata Classic MVP Honors
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St. Louis, Mo., December 4, 2010 – Senior Spencer Gay scored 19 points and earned 27th Annual Lopata Classic Most Valuable Player honors as the Washington University in St. Louis men’s basketball team picked up a 66-57 victory over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges on Saturday night at the WU Field House in St. Louis, Mo.
Gay, who was named the Robert L. Burnes Most Valuable Player, was joined on the All-Tournament Team by senior teammate Caleb Knepper. Claremont’s Patrick Lacey and Joseph Anderson, Franklin & Marshall College’s Georgio Milligan and James McNally, and Tsinghua University’s Lingxu Zeng and Xiadong Zhu were also named to the All-Tournament Team.
Washington University led by as many as 16 points in the first half thanks to 10 points from Gay and cold long-range shooting by Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. The Bears limited CMS to 30.0 percent shooting from the field, but the Stags were just 3-of-14 (21.4 percent) from three-point range.
A 9-2 Washington University run broke an early 6-6 tie and allowed the Bears to grab a 15-8 lead midway through the first half. Knepper came off the bench to give the Bears a boost offensively, draining a three-pointer to give the Red and Green their first double-digit advantage, a 10-point, 24-14 cushion at the 6:27 mark.
Washington University stretched that lead to 16 points as freshman Tim Cooney scored a lay-up and assisted on a three-pointer from sophomore Max Needle, on the Bears’ next possession. Washington U. maintained 36-23 edge in rebounding through 20 minutes of play and outscored the Stags 22-12 in the paint.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (2-3) started the second half on a 12-4 tear, closing to within five points on a three-pointer from Kevin Sullivan six minutes into the half.
WUSTL responded with a long run of its own. The bears regained a double-digit lead on a three-pointer from freshman Alan Aboona with 9:54 to play, which was part of a 13-2 Washington U. run that ended as Cooney found Knepper for a fast-break lay-up to put the Bears back in front by 16 points. Aboona finished the contest with five points and a career-high eight assists.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps closed to within nine points on another Sullivan three-pointer with just over a minute to play in the game but the Bears held on for the nine-point win, extending Washington University’s Lopata Classic winning streak to 24-straight games dating back to 1999.
Cooney, sophomore Ben Hoener and Knepper each scored eight points against the Stags as the Bears shot 51.0 percent (25-of-49) as a team in the win. Cooney also pulled a career-high 10 boards in the win. Sullivan finished with 12 points to lead CMS, which was limited to just 32.7 percent shooting.
Washington University (3-3) hosts Fontbonne University in the Wydown Showdown on Wednesday, Dec. 8, at 8 p.m.
Bear Notebook: Washington University has won all nine meetings between the two teams dating back to the 1985-86 season … Washington U. is 48-6 all-time in the Lopata Classic, while Claremont-Mudd-Scripps is 8-8 in eight appearances … Saturday marked the first start of Cooney’s career, making him the first freshman to start a game for Washington University since Aaron Thompson in 2007 … The Bears have won 61 of their last 63 games when leading at the half … Since 2000-01, the Bears are 125-14 (.899) at the WU Field House.