Wooster, Ohio, Dec. 30, 2016 – Junior guard Kevin Kucera scored 26 points and dished out a career-high 11 assists as the No. 25-ranked Washington University in St. Louis men's basketball team battled back from a 17-point second-half deficit to post a 94-91 overtime victory at the College of Wooster Friday in the 54th Annual E.M. "Mose" Hole/Kiwanis Classic in Wooster, Ohio.
The victory for WashU head coach Mark Edwards was the 650th of his career. Edwards is the 12th coach in NCAA Division III history to reach the plateau, and is 650-286 (.694) in 36 seasons at his alma mater.
Kucera was 11-of-15 from the field, including 4-of-6 from three-point range, as he fell one-point shy of his career-high. He was named the Tournament MVP after averaging 16.5 points, 8.5 assists and 6.5 rebounds per game. Junior forward Andrew Sanders was named the Tournament's Defensive MVP, while senior forward Clinton Hooks was also named to the All-Tournament Team.
WashU concluded non-conference play with an 8-3 mark, while Wooster fell to 6-6.
Sanders had 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting, while Hooks and junior guard Jake Knupp added 10 points each. The Bears shot 55.2 percent (37-67) from the field and tied a season-high with 10 three-pointers. WashU also outrebounded Wooster 35-33, and had a 13-7 advantage in second-chance points.
WashU fell behind 11-5 in the opening four minutes after Wooster connected on five of its first six shots from the field. The Bears answered with a 6-0 run, and a three-pointer by Kucera knotted the score at 14-14. Kucera nailed his second trey of the night and then hit a lay-up to give the Bears a 21-18 lead with 11:44 remaining.
Following Kucera's three, Wooster answered with a 15-4 run to take a double-figure lead (38-28) with 5:13 before half. Sophomore center Marcus Meyer scored six-straight points for the Bears to get the lead down to nine (43-34), but Wooster took a 51-40 lead to the locker room.
Kucera led the Bears with 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting and hit all of his three-point shots as WashU shot 59.3 percent (16-27) from the field. Wooster shot 59.5 percent in the opening half and hit five threes.
Wooster extended its lead to 17 points (64-47), forcing a timeout by Edwards. Sophomore guard Will Galik nailed a three out of the timeout to highlight a 22-4 run as WashU regained the lead at 69-68 with 10:09 to play. Galik had eight points during the run, including a pair of three-pointers.
Kucera nailed his fourth three of the game with 57 seconds left to give the Bears an 83-81 lead. After a defensive stop and a WashU turnover, Dan Fanelly scored on a lay-up with seven seconds left to send the game to overtime.
Hooks opened the overtime with a three-pointer, and then Knupp canned a triple with 1:09 left to give the Bears a 90-89 advantage. After a turnover by Wooster, junior Matt Highsmith drilled a pair of free-throws with 24 seconds left to extend the lead to 92-89.
Fanelly led Wooster with 24 points, while Spencer Williams added 23. Wooster shot 50 percent (36-72) from the field and hit 8-of-22 threes.
WashU opens University Athletic Association (UAA) play at the University of Chicago (8-2) on Saturday, Jan. 7. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. in the Windy City.
BEAR NOTEBOOK: The Bears have won three all-time meetings between the two teams … Sanders has scored in double figures in 10 of 11 games played … Wooster is 5-2 at home this season … WashU played its first overtime game since Nov. 18, 2011, – a 68-65 win at Whitman.