Pittsburgh, Pa., Jan. 17, 2016 – The Washington University in St. Louis men's basketball team overcame a 13-point halftime deficit to earn a 92-84 University Athletic Association (UAA) win at Carnegie Mellon University Sunday.
After trailing 48-35 at halftime, WashU opened the second half with an 11-2 run to close the gap to 50-46 and force a Carnegie Mellon timeout with 17:07 to play. The Tartans answered with a 7-0 run to regain an 11-point advantage and the teams traded baskets to a 61-51 lead for Carnegie Mellon with 14:04 remaining. The Bears locked down on the defensive end, holding the Tartans scoreless as WashU made a 13-0 run over the next five minutes to take a 64-61 lead.
Carnegie Mellon quickly answered with a three to tie it, but the Bears took the lead for good on a left-handed hook shot by sophomore David Schmelter with 8:26 left. The Tartans were called for offensive fouls on three straight possessions and WashU took advantage with three straight baskets to push the lead to 76-69 with 4:24 to play. After a pair of free throws by Carnegie Mellon, sophomore Andrew Sanders converted a pair of three-point plays to extemd the lead to 82-71 with 2:34 remaining. The Bears iced the game by making 10-of-12 free throws down the stretch to seal the 92-84 win.
The two teams traded leads four times in the opening eight minutes, and a three-pointer by senior Luke Silverman-Lloyd tied the score at 14-14 with 12:29 remaining in the first half. The Tartans went on an 18-2 run over the next five minutes to build a 32-16 lead. Another three by Silverman-Lloyd and back-to-back layups by Kucera were part of a 7-2 run for the Bears that brought them to within 11 at 34-23. Carnegie Mellon stretched the lead back to 15, but a driving layup by Kucera with less than 10 seconds left in the half made it 48-35 in favor of the Tartans heading to the break.
The Bears shot 45.6 percent (31-68) from the field, including 58.1 percent (18-31) in the second half. Carnegie Mellon finished with 44.3 percent shooting from the field (27-61), including 11-of-29 in the second half. The Bears also shot a season-best 82.8 percent (24-29) at the free-throw line, while the Tartans were 22-of-25 (88 percent). WashU turned 17 Carnegie Mellon turnovers into a 17-6 advantage in points off turnovers, and finished with a 44-26 advantage in points in the paint.
Kucera scored a career-high 21 points and grabbed a team-high six rebounds to lead four players in double-figures for the Bears. Sanders added 20 points, including 16 in the second half, while Silverman-Lloyd and junior Clinton Hooks finished with 15 points each. Hooks also had five rebounds and a team-high six assists.
WashU improved to 10-4 overall and 2-1 in the UAA with the win, while Carnegie Mellon dropped to 7-7 and 0-3 in the conference. The Bears return to St. Louis to begin a four-game home stand next weekend. WashU hosts Brandeis University at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22, before squaring off against No. 15 New York University at Noon Sunday, Jan. 24.
Bear Notebook: WashU leads the all-time series against Carnegie Mellon 46-9 … The Bears have won 14 of the last 16 meetings in the series … It was UAA win No. 300 for the Bears, who improved to 300-92 (.765) all-time in conference play … It was the fifth time this season Sanders has topped the 20-point mark … The Bears scored 90-plus points for the third time this season and second game in a row.