No. 17 WashU Nipped at Home by No. 21 Illinois Wesleyan

No. 17 WashU Nipped at Home by No. 21 Illinois Wesleyan

St. Louis, Mo., Dec. 17, 2016 – The No. 17-ranked Washington University in St. Louis men's basketball team fought back from a 14-point first half deficit, but some missed opportunities at the free-throw line cost the Bears in a 73-72 loss to No. 21 Illinois Wesleyan University Saturday at the WU Field House. 

Illinois Wesleyan won its second-straight game to improve to 7-2, while WashU lost its second-straight game and dropped to 6-3 

WashU took the 70-69 lead with 1:29 left after junior Andrew Sanders converted 1-of-2 free-throws. After a foul by junior Kevin Kucera, Brady Rose nailed two free-throws to five IWU the 71-70 lead.

Junior Matt Highsmith was fouled with 31 seconds left, and missed the front end of the 1-and-1. Alec Bausch drilled both free-throws on the ensuing possession to seal the victory for the Titans.

WashU shot 53.8 percent (7-of-13) from the foul line in the loss, and missed the front end of three 1-and-1's.

Sanders had 16 points and nine rebounds, while senior Clinton Hooks had 11 points. Senior Michael Bregman and Highsmith added 10 points each. WashU shot 53.6 percent (30-of-56) from the field and hit 5-of-10 threes. The Bears also outrebounded IWU 32-28, and had a 17-7 advantage in second-chance points.

Illinois Wesleyan hit five of its first six threes of the game, and led 21-15 with 12:41 left after a triple by Trevor Seibring from the top of the key. The Titans continued to shoot the ball from beyond the arc, and a three from Nick Coleman pushed the advantage to 27-20. 

Junior Jake Knupp canned a three for WashU to get the lead down to six (37-31). IWU took its largest lead of the first half (50-36) with 1:04 to play after a three by Colin Bennett.

IWU shot 69.0 (20-of-29) from the field and led 50-40 at half. The Titans hit 7-of-13 threes, and had 12 assists. Sanders led WashU with 11 points as the Bears shot 53.3 percent from the field and had a 10-3 advantage in second-chance points.

Hooks canned a pair of threes to get the lead down to six (58-52), and then Knupp capped an 8-0 run with a pair of buckets to get the advantage down to 62-61. 

WashU got the lead back at 65-64 for the first time in almost 28 minutes after a bucket by Bregman with 7:06 to play. The Bears limited Illinois Wesleyan to 28 percent (7-of-25) from the field in the second half, including 0-for-6 in threes.

Trevor Seibring had 17 points to lead Illinois Wesleyan, while Rose and Andy Stempel added 14 points. The Titans shot 50 percent (27-of-54) from the field in the win, and hit seven threes.

WashU has 11 days off before returning to action on Thursday-Friday, Dec. 29-30, at the 54th Annual E.M. "Mose" Hole/Kiwanis Classic in Wooster, Ohio. The Bears take on Ohio Wesleyan University Thursday at 5 p.m. (ET), followed by a matchup with host Wooster Friday at 7 p.m. 

BEAR NOTEBOOK: Illinois Wesleyan leads the all-time series with WashU 22-16 … Sanders has scored in double figures eight times this season … The Bears have shot 50 percent or better from the field in three-straight games.