Bench Play Leads No. 9 Men’s Basketball Past UW-Eau Claire 72-61

Bench Play Leads No. 9 Men’s Basketball Past UW-Eau Claire 72-61

Wheaton, Ill., Nov. 21, 2014 – The No. 9-ranked Washington University in St. Louis men's basketball team improved to 3-0 with a 72-61 win over the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in the opening game of the game 2014 Lee Pfund Classic Friday night in Wheaton, Ill.

Washington U. had scored a season-high 32 points off the bench, including a stretch in the first half with 17-straight by the reserves. The Bears off to a 3-0 start for the third-straight season, and takes on No. 18-ranked Wheaton Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Lee Pfund Classic championship game.

Senior Matt Palucki led all scorers with 14 points and six rebounds, while senior David Fatoki (11 points), junior Mitch Styczynski (11) and senior Nick Burt (10) also scored in double figures. Sophomore Michael Bregman had six points off the bench on 2-of-3 three-point shooting.

Wisconsin Eau-Claire (1-2) had the hot hand early in the contest after hitting its first three shots from beyond the arc to take an 11-6 lead. Palucki and senior Kent Lacob drilled back-to-back three-pointers to give the Bears the 16-13 lead with 13:24 left.

It was the Washington U. bench that ignited a 12-2 run to push the advantage to 28-19. Freshman Matt Highsmith had four points and Bregman drilled a pair of three-pointers, as the bench scored 17-straight points during a nine-minute stretch. Washington U. took its largest lead of the half at 39-28 after a three-point by senior David Fatoki with 1:53 left.

The Bears took a 40-31 lead to the half after shooting 56 percent (14-25) from the field, and hit 7-of-12 from three-point range. Washington U. had 13 assists on 14 field goals in the first half.

Washington U. built its largest of the game at 52-36 on a jumper by Fatoki with 13:53 to play. UW-Eau Claire answered with a 12-3 run to trim the margin to 55-48, and got as close as six (59-53) after a three-pointer by Canan Stackpool. The Bears limited the Blugolds to 35.5 percent shooting in the second half, including 4-of-17 from three-point range.

Washington U. shot 47.7 percent (21-44) from the field in the win, and had 19 assists on 21 field goals. The Bears committed a season-low 11 turnovers, and hit 22-of-32 at the foul line.

Bear Notebook: Washington U. has defeated UW-Eau Claire in both career meetings … Head coach Mark Edwards picked up his 610th career victory, sixth most by an active NCAA Division III coach.