Defensive Effort Leads No. 4 Men’s Basketball Past La Verne 83-48

Defensive Effort Leads No. 4 Men’s Basketball Past La Verne 83-48


St. Louis, Mo., Dec. 5, 2014 – The No. 4-ranked Washington University in St. Louis men's basketball team forced 21 turnovers and limited the University of La Verne to 30.5 percent shooting in an 83-48 victory in the second game of the 31st Annual Lopata Classic Friday at the WU Field House in St. Louis.

Washington University improved to 7-0 with the win, while La Verne fell to 2-1. The Bears are 7-0 for the first time since the 2012-13 season, and for the sixth time in school history.

Tied at 12-12 midway through the first half, Washington U. put the clamps down on defense and limited the Leopards to three field goals in a nine-minute span. Freshman forward Matt Highsmith had eight points during the 20-7 run as the Bears took the 32-19 advantage.

After a bucket by the La Verne with 3:50 to play, Washington U. scored the final seven points of the half to take a 39-22 lead the break. WUSTL's defense limited the Leopards to 0-for-6 shooting with three turnovers in the final 3:50.

Washington U. held La Verne to 34.5 percent (10-29) shooting from the field in the first half, including 2-of-12 from beyond the arc. Senior forward Matt Palucki and junior guard Luke Silverman-Lloyd led the Bears with nine first-half points, while Highsmith chipped in with eight.

The Bears scored the first six points to start the second half to extend the lead to 45-22, highlighted by a steal and a thunderous dunk by senior forward Nick Burt. Washington U. extended the lead to 30 (57-27) with 14:20 to play after back-to-back three-pointers by Silverman-Lloyd and Palucki. The Bears shot 54.8 percent (17-31) in the second half.

Silverman-Lloyd scored a career-high with 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including 3-of-5 from three-point range. Palucki added 14 points, while senior guard David Fatoki had 11 points and six assists. Highsmith chipped in with 10 points and a career-high seven rebounds.

Washington U. shot 50.8 percent (30-59) from the field, its third-straight game shooting over 50 percent. The Bears hit 17-of-22 from the free-throw line in the win, and had a season-high six blocks and nine steals.

Hakim Arnold scored 13 points to lead La Verne, who hit just 5-of-23 from three-point range and 7-of-16 from the free-throw line.

Washington U. takes on Trinity University (Texas) in the final game of the 31st Annual Lopata Classic Saturday at 8 p.m. Trinity fell to 0-6 with an 83-74 loss to No. 6-ranked Emory University in the opening game of the 31st Annual Lopata Classic Friday.

Bear Notebook: Washington U. and La Verne met for the first time since the 1993-94 season, and the Bears have won two all-time meetings … Washington U. has won 31-straight games in the Lopata Classic and has an all-time record of 55-6 (.902) … Palucki scored in double figures for the seventh game this season and 46th of his career … The 48 points allowed were a season low, and the fewest since a 70-36 win at Brandeis University on Jan. 23, 2011.