Men's Basketball Rolls Past Buena Vista 71-59 in NCAA First Round
BOX SCORE | PHOTO | HIGHLIGHTS
St. Louis, March 2, 2012 – No. 19 ranked Washington University in St. Louis advanced to the second round of the 2012 NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championship with a 71-59 win over Buena Vista University on Friday night at the WU Field House in St. Louis, Mo.
Washington University (20-6) takes on No. 23 ranked North Central College (Ill.) on Saturday at 7 p.m. for a berth in the Sectional semifinals. North Central escaped with a 74-71 victory over Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in the opening game.
“It was a hard-fought game by both teams. I felt that we executed defensively at the right time, which was the whole ball game,” said head coach Mark Edwards, who has led Washington U. to 20 wins for the 13th time in his 31-year career.
Washington U.’s defense forced 21 turnovers in the victory, and limited Buena Vista to 2-for-17 from three-point range.
“Defense has been a huge part of our team all year, said senior Dylan Richter. “In any given game, maybe your shot may fall, maybe it won’t, but you can always put the effort forth on defense. That’s what we did tonight, and that’s what we are going to do going forward.”
Washington University struggled from the field for the game shooting 39.7 percent (25-63), but hit 10-of 22 three-pointers. The Bears also had 19 assists on 25 field goals, and recorded a season-high seven blocks and 11 steals.
Washington U. started slow missing six of its first nine shots, but held onto the lead for the opening five minutes. The Beavers got the lead for the first time following a fast-break dunk by Doug Bissen with 14:37 to play, but freshman Matt Palucki drained a three-pointer from the top of the key to get the lead right back.
Palucki drained his second-three of the half to make it 21-19, and then back-to-back three’s from sophomores Alan Aboona and Tim Cooney pushed the advantage to 27-20 before a media timeout. Richter’s three-pointer just before half gave Washington U. a 41-29 lead at intermission.
Richter led the Bears with eight points in the first half, as Washington U. connected on 7-of-14 from three-point range. The Bears’ defense turned 13 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes into a 14-4 advantage in points off turnovers. Washington U. also outscored Buena Vista 8-0 in second-chance points.
Washington U. held onto a double-digit lead most of the second half, and made it 58-43 after a three-pointer from the wing by Aboona and a free-throw by sophomore Chris Klimek. The Beavers would get the lead down to 11, but back-to-back jumpers from Richter and Palucki before the media timeout made it 62-47 with 6:36 to play.
A lay-up by junior Ben Hoener and two free-throws by Klimek pushed the Bears lead to their largest of the night – 66-47 with 4:58 to play.
Richter finished with 18 points and five rebounds, upping his career point total to 1,098 points. He added four three’s in the win, and sits two shy of Sean Wallis (2005-10) for eighth place all-time. Aboona also scored in double figures with 11 points on 3-of-5 three-point shooting.
Wes Nordquist was the lone scorer in double figures with 22 points and 13 rebounds for Buena Vista, which ended its season with a 17-11 record. The Beavers outrebounded Washington U. 41-34 and hit 15-of-20 free-throws in the loss.
“It is going to take a good defensive effort tomorrow from us,” added Aboona. “They’ve got a nice, solid post presence. It’s not just going to be our post players playing defense, but it’s going to be a team effort. It’s going to be a challenge for us but we are ready for it.”
Bear Notebook: Washington U. and Buena Vista met for just the second time in school history – the Bears have won both meetings in the NCAA Tournament … The victory for Washington U. was its 30th all-time in the NCAA Division III Championship … The Bears have won 19 of their last 21 NCAA Tournament games since 2007 … Washington U. has won 85 of its last 91 games when leading at half … The Bears improved to 12-1 at home this season.
#23 North Central 74, Rose-Hulman 71
Landon Gamble scored a game-high 27 points to lead North Central past Rose-Hulman 74-71 in the opening game on Friday in St. Louis. Gamble was 12-of-14 from the field and added eight boards, four assists and two blocked shots in 36 minutes of play.
North Central (21-7) got 11 points from Kevin Gillespie and Aaron Tiknis, while Derek Raridon added 10 points in the win. The Cardinals shot 56.1 percent (32-57) from the field, and outscored Rose Hulman 48-16 in the paint.
Rose-Hulman, who was making its first NCAA appearance since 1999, ends its season with a 20-9 record. Julian Strickland (25 points, seven assists) and Austin Weatherford scored in double figures for Rose-Hulman.