Men's Basketball Ends Season With 72-68 Loss to No. 23 North Central
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St. Louis, March 3, 2012 – No. 19 ranked Washington University in St. Louis saw its season come to an end with a 72-68 loss to No. 23 North Central College (Ill.) in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Division III Championship on Saturday night at the WU Field House in St. Louis, Mo.
Washington University concludes its season with a 20-7 overall record, while North Central improves to 22-7. The Cardinals take on No. 22 Wittenberg University (Ohio) on Friday in the NCAA Sectional Semifinal at a site to be determined.
Junior Ben Hoener scored 14 of his team-high 16 points in the second half, while senior Dylan Richter added 14 points in his final game with the Red and Green. Sophomore Alan Aboona (11 points) and freshman Matt Palucki (10 points) also scored in double figures in the loss.
Richter, along with seniors Jake Seymour and Alex Toth, conclude their career with an 86-24 (.782) overall record. The Class of 2012 made three NCAA Tournament appearances, won two University Athletic Association (UAA) Championships (2009, 2012) and captured the 2009 NCAA Division III Championship.
“I think [the seniors] have done a great job at teaching our team, and that’s what North Central did. You look at their season, they put themselves in holes and they took care of details,” said Washington University head coach Mark Edwards. “They went through one of the toughest conferences in the country. They are prepared and I wish them the best of luck in the tournament.”
Washington U. held onto an early 8-5 lead following a three-pointer by Richter, but a three-pointer by Kevin Gillespie and a lay-up by Charlie Rosenberg gave North Central its first lead at 10-8. The Cardinals held a 17-13 lead with 9:59 remaining largely in part to Washington U. struggles from the field – the Bears missed 12 of their first 17 shots.
A three-pointer by Gillespie, his third of the half, gave North Central its largest lead of the half (26-17) with 6:08 left. Aboona nailed two free-throws and hit a three-pointer to get the lead to five at 27-22, but a three-point play by Charlie Rosenberg pushed the lead back to eight (30-22).
Gillespie led all scorers with 11 points in the first half for North Central, who took a 36-28 lead to the locker room. The Cardinals shot 53.8 percent (14-26) from the field, and assisted on all 14 field goals.
Washington U. cut into North Central’s lead in the second half, as a three-pointer by Richter with 11:51 to play made it 42-41. After Hoener picked up a charge on the ensuing play, Hoener nailed a three-pointer from the top of the key to make it 44-42. This was the first lead for the Bears since 16:22 left in the first half.
Hoener’s jumper with 5:51 to play gave Washington U. a 54-52 lead, but that would be the last lead of the game for the Bears. Gillespie’s three-pointer made it 55-54, and then he was fouled on a three-pointer and hit two free-throws to make it 59-56. Washington U. got the lead down to two (60-58) with 5.9 seconds left following a three-pointer by Richter, but Gillespie hit two free-throws with 3.1 seconds left to secure the victory.
Gillespie finished with a game-high 22 points on 4-of-6 shooting from three-point range, while Raridon (15 points), Landon Gamble (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Aaron Tiknis (12 points) all scored in double figures for North Central. The Cardinals shot 45.7 percent (21-46) from the field and had 19 assists on 21 field goals.
Washington U. shot 40.4 percent (23-57) from the field in the loss, and had just 11 assists. The Bears also connected on just 59.1 percent (13-22) from the foul line, second worst free-throw percentage of the season.
“I just want to say that I wouldn’t want to play for any other captains in the entire country, said Hoener. “Whether it’s Dylan keeping us loose in practice and making sure we have fun out there, or Jake just being there whenever you need support or anything, or Toth getting us fired up and getting us focused and ready to play. These guys are awesome. I couldn’t imagine playing under three better captains in my life.”
Bear Notebook: This marked the first meeting between the two teams since the 1969-70 season … The loss for Washington U. was its second this season at home (12-2) … There was a combined 50 fouls called in the contest … Richter’s four three’s moved him into sixth place on the all-time list with 152.