St. Louis, Mo., Jan. 9, 2016 – The Washington University in St. Louis men's basketball team battled back from an 18-point second-half deficit and fell short in an upset bid over No. 16-ranked University of Chicago with a 70-69 loss in the University Athletic Association (UAA) opener for both teams Saturday at the WU Field House in St. Louis.
Chicago won its ninth-straight game to improve to 9-2, 1-0 in the UAA, while WashU fell to 8-4, 0-1 in the UAA.
With WashU holding onto its largest lead of the game at 69-67 with 21 seconds left, senior Jordan Smith canned a three-pointer from the right wing to put Chicago up 70-69 with 11 seconds left. On the ensuing possession, sophomore guard Kevin Kucera's game-winning shot fell short as time expired.
Sophomore guard Jake Knupp scored 14 of his career-high 18 points in the second half, while sophomore forward Matt Highsmith added 15 points and six rebounds. Kucera added nine second-half points and a career-high seven rebounds, while sophomore center David Schmelter had eight points and a career-high 11 boards.
WashU shot 42.2 percent (27-64) from the field and 73.3 percent (11-15) from the foul line in the defeat.
WashU missed its first four shots from field and trailed 9-0 in the opening four minutes of play. Chicago extended the lead to 18-8 with 11:09 to play after a triple by Smith.
The Maroons took their largest lead of the half at 35-18 with 2:39 to play after scoring five-straight points. After missing its first five threes of the game, Silverman-Lloyd ignited an 8-2 to end the half with two triples to cut the halftime lead to 37-26.
Silverman-Lloyd led the Bears with eight points in the opening half, as WashU shot 40 percent (12-30) from the field. Chicago shot 44.8 percent (13-29) from the field, and hit 6-of-12 from three-point range. The Maroons also had a 12-2 advantage in points off turnovers and 13-4 in bench points.
Kucera got the Bears back into the contest early in the second half scoring seven-straight points to trim the Chicago lead to 50-41 with 12:11 to play.
Knupp ignited a 16-6 run with 11 points, including a three-pointer from the wing, as WashU trimmed the lead to one (60-59) with 4:36 to play. Chicago got the lead back to four (65-61), and then Knupp recorded a three-point play and then had a steal on the defensive end. Knupp's steal led to a lay-up by Schmelter to give WashU its first lead of the game at 66-65 with 1:41 to play.
Smith led all scorers with 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting, while Waller Perez added 14 points and Alex Voss had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Chicago hit 9-of-23 from three-point range, and limited WashU to 23.5 percent (4-17) shooting from three-point range.
WashU continues conference play with a pair of road games at Case Western Reserve University on Friday, Jan. 15, at 8 p.m. (ET), and at Carnegie Mellon University on Sunday, Jan. 17, at 11 a.m. (ET).
BEAR NOTEBOOK: WashU leads the all-time series with Chicago, 48-20, and the Maroons won their first game in St. Louis in five years … Chicago was picked first in the UAA Preseason Coaches Poll, while WashU was fourth … The Bears are 4-2 at home this season, and 105-19 since the 2006-07 season … Chicago entered the game ranked first in Division III in three-point field-goal percentage defense (24.4) … The Bears are 19-10 all-time in UAA openers.