St. Louis, Mo., November 14, 2015 – The Washington University in St. Louis men's basketball team opened the 2015-16 season with a convincing 90-60 win over Blackburn College Saturday night at the WU Field House in St. Louis.
The Bears improved to 22-13 in season openers in head coach Mark Edwards' 35 years at WashU, including winning the last 10.
Sophomore Andrew Sanders led the Bears with a career-high 17 points, while senior guard Luke Silverman-Lloyd and sophomore forward Matt Highsmith added 12 points each. Sophomore center David Schmelter added nine points and six rebounds and sophomore point guard Kevin Kucera had eight points and eight assists in their first career start.
WashU shot 53.3 percent (32-of-60) from the field in the win, including 62.1 percent (18-of-29) in the first half. The Bears forced 18 turnovers and outrebounded Blackburn 42-36.
The Bears built an 11-2 lead in the opening three minutes of play, capped by a three-pointer by Silverman-Lloyd. Highsmith drilled four-straight free-throws to build the advantage to 22-9 with 13:13 to play before half. Kucera canned a three-pointer with 4:51 to play before half to extend the lead to 40-19.
WashU put the game out of reach by scoring the first 18 points of the second half to build a 38-point lead (69-310 with 13:12 to play. Sanders had eight of the 18 points for WashU.
Reed Rusten led Blackburn with 21 points off the bench, and hit 7-of-7 free-throws.
WashU hosts the 32nd Annual Lopata Classic Friday-Saturday, Nov. 20-21, at the WU Field House. DePauw University, John Hopkins University and Pomona-Pitzer Colleges join WashU in the tournament field. The Bears take on Pomona-Pitzer Friday at 8 p.m.
BEAR NOTEBOOK: WashU leads the all-time series with Blackburn, 9-6, and the Bears have won nine-straight meetings … The Bears are 105-18 at the Field House dating back to the 2006-07 season … Edwards coached his 901st career game Saturday.