St. Louis, Mo., January 11, 2014 – The No. 7-ranked Washington University in St. Louis men's basketball team opened University Athletic Association (UAA) play with an 80-69 win over the University of Chicago Saturday afternoon at the WU Field House in St. Louis.
Washington U. improves to 10-2, 1-0 in the UAA with the win, while Chicago falls to 7-5, 0-1 in conference play.
Junior forward Matt Palucki led the way with 26 points on 10-of-16 field goals, while senior guard Alan Aboona added 18 points and seven assists. Senior guard Tim Cooney flirted with a triple-double with 11 points, a career-high 10 assists, seven rebounds and a career-high five steals, while senior forward Chris Klimek had 10 points and seven rebounds.
Washington U. shot 51.7 percent (30-58) from the field in the win, and had 21 assists and a season-low nine turnovers. The Bears also outrebounded Chicago, 39-30.
Washington U. came out fast making eight of its first 10 shots of the game and led 21-3 with 13:49 left in the first half. Palucki had 10 of the first 17 points for the Bears, including a pair of threes. Washington U.'s defense limited Chicago to 1-of-8 shooting with four turnovers in the opening six minutes.
Charlie Hughes had the hot hand for Chicago in the opening half, scoring 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting. He nailed a three-pointer and then scored on a lay-up as the Maroons cut the lead to 25-11. Washington U. got the lead back up to 14 points (35-21), but Chicago ended the half on a 15-5 run to make it 41-36 at halftime. Alex Voss got into double figures in the opening half (10 points) for Chicago after drilling a three-pointer from the wing as time expired.
Palucki had 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting in the opening half as Washington U. shot 52.9 percent (18-34) from the field. Cooney added six points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals. Chicago hit 6-of-12 from three-point range to keep it close in the opening 20 minutes.
The two teams traded baskets for most of the second half, but the Bears extended the lead to nine (59-50) after Cooney found Palucki open for a wing three to make it 59-50 with 11:00 remaining. Chicago trimmed the advantage to three at 64-61 with a four-point play, but Aboona scored on a lay-up and Cooney nailed a pair of free-throws to get the lead back to six and force a Chicago timeout.
After struggling most of the game at the charity stripe, Washington U. made 10-of-11 in the final 5:09 to seal the win. The Bears shot 65.3 percent (15-23) from the free-throw line for the game, including 13-of-19 in the second half.
Hughes scored 16 of his team-high 18 points in the first half, while Voss added 17 points off the bench. Chicago hit eight threes in the loss, but were just 2-of-12 in the second half.
Washington U. closes out a five-game home stand against Brandeis University Friday, Jan. 17, at 8 p.m., and New University Sunday, Jan. 19, at Noon.
Bear Notebook: Washington U. leads the all-time series with Chicago, 46-18, and the Bears have won 11 of the last 15 meetings … Head coach Mark Edwards picked up career win number 593 … WUSTL has a 8-0 record at home in 2013-14 … The Bears are 19-8 all-time in UAA openers … Palucki has connected on 17-of-31 threes in the last four games … Aboona has connected on a three-pointer in 28-straight games … The Bears have won 108 of their last 116 games when leading at halftime … Aboona passed current assistant coach Aaron Thompson (2006-10) to move into sixth on the all-time assist list with 347.