Wheaton, Ill., Nov. 22, 2014 – Senior Nick Burt tied his career-high with 17 points and broke open a one-point game with a three-point play with 1:37 to play to lead the No. 9-ranked Washington University in St. Louis men's basketball team to a 73-69 victory at No. 18 Wheaton College (Ill.) in the championship game of the Lee Pfund Classic Saturday night in Wheaton, Ill.
Burt also added 11 rebounds (six offensive) to record his second career double-double, and was named the Will Laundry Most Valuable Player. Burt averaged 13.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in the two victories for Washington U. Senior Matt Palucki also recorded a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, and joined Burt on the all-tournament team.
Freshman Matt Highsmith added a career-best 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting, while senior David Fatoki added five points, seven rebounds and a career-best 10 assists. WUSTL shot 39.4 percent from the field and had a season-high 23 assists on 26 field goals. The Bears also committed a season-low seven turnovers and outrebounded Wheaton 44-37.
A back-and-forth first half saw Washington U. gain the early 20-19 advantage with 12:09 after a three-pointer by Palucki. For the second-straight night the bench came up big in the first half as the reserved scored 10-straight points, highlighted by a three-point play on a dunk by sophomore Michael Bregman to extend the lead to 31-29.
The Bears shot 40.6 percent (13-32) from the field in the opening half, and had 12 assists on 13 field goals. Wheaton hit 6-of-12 from beyond the arc in the opening 20 minutes.
Wheaton continued to rely on the outside shot, as Jonathan Berntsten's three-pointer with 14:39 to play pushed the Wheaton advantage to 47-40. Junior Luke Silverman-Lloyd canned a three-point to highlight a 9-2 run as Washington U. tied the contest at 49-49. The Thunder answered back with a three by Michael Berg, its 10th of the game, to get the lead back at 52-49.
The Bears got the lead back at 61-54 with 6:36 to play after a 10-0 run, as Washington U.' defense limited Wheaton without a point for 4:35. Highsmith had six of the 10 points for the Bears during the run.
Washington U. took a 65-60 lead after a bucket inside the paint by Highsmith, but Wheaton would not go away. Brayden Teuscher and Berg each nailed a pair of free-throws to cut the lead to 65-64. After a turnover by the Bears and a miss by Wheaton, Burt came up big with a three-point play with 1:37 to make it 68-64. After another defensive stop, Burt canned a pair of three-throws to extend the advantage to 70-64.
Teuscher, who played his freshman season at Washington U., had a game-high 22 points, while Peter Smith (18 points) and Berg (13 points) also scored in double figures. Wheaton shot 38.3 percent from the field, and hit 11 three-pointers.
Washington U. wraps up a six-game road trip with a pair of games in Santa Cruz, Calif. The Bears take on Carthage College Friday, Nov. 28, at 3 p.m. (PT), followed by a matchup with Fontbonne University Saturday, Nov. 29, at 5 p.m.
Bear Notebook: Washington U. leads the all-time series with Wheaton, 15-9, and have won the last two meetings … The Bears have won 10- straight road games dating back to last season, the second-longest active streak in NCAA Division III … Palucki is four points shy of 900 for his career … The Bears off to a 4-0 start for the third-straight season … Palucki recorded his third double-double of the year and 13th of his career … Washington U. had a 22-8 advantage in bench points.