Knupp and Sanders Lead No. 9 WashU Past Alma

Knupp and Sanders Lead No. 9 WashU Past Alma

Alma, Mich., Dec. 3, 2017 – Senior guard Jake Knupp and senior forward Andrew Sanders each scored a season-high 26 points to lead the No. 9-ranked Washington University in St. Louis men's basketball team to a 96-86 win at Alma College Sunday afternoon in Alma, Mich.

Senior guard Kevin Kucera filled up the stat sheet with 16 points, eight assists and a season-high six rebounds as WashU improved to 5-1. Senior center David Schmelter added a season-high 11 points, six rebounds and a career-high four assists. Schmelter also had a pair of dunks in the victory.

WashU had a 46-28 advantage on the glass, including a 22-9 mark on the offensive end. The Bears shot 48.7 percent (37-of-76) from the field and season-high 82.4 percent (14-of-17) from the free-throw line in the win.

Alma (1-4) came out in a zone and Knupp burned the Scots with a pair of threes as WashU jumped out in front 12-7. He had eight of the first 10 points for the Bears. Sanders, who did not play in the loss to Mount St. Joseph, recorded a three-point play to push the WashU lead to 22-15.

Alma got back into the game with four-straight three-pointers, and took its first lead of the game at 27-26 on a triple by Kevin Gamble with 8:17 left. The Scots hit 13 of their first 18 shots from the field, including 6-of-9 from three.

WashU took a 46-39 advantage to the locker room after finishing the first half on an 18-5 run. Knupp (14 points) and Sanders (11 points) scored in double figures for WashU, who shot 54.1 percent (20-of-37) from the field and had 13 assists. The Bears also had a 10-4 advantage in points off turnovers.

Kucera and Knupp drained a pair of three-pointers to increase the WashU lead to 57-48 with 16:49 to play. The Bears took their largest lead of the game at 69-55 with 12:41 to play following a lay-up by Kucera.

The Scots trimmed the lead to 71-64, but a 9-3 run by WashU gave the Bears an 80-67 lead with 6:18 to play. 

Preston Laketa led Alma with 21 points on 5-of-12 three-point shooting, while Gamble, the son of 10-year NBA veteran Kevin Gamble, added 19. Alma was 15-of-38 from three-point range, but connected on just 1-of-4 from the foul line.

WashU returns home to host Central (Iowa) on Saturday, Dec. 9, at 2 p.m.  

• WashU and Alma met for the first time in school history.
• Sanders went over 900 points for his career, and is 77 points shy of 1,000.
• The 26 points for Knupp was a career high.
• WashU is 3-1 on the road this season.
• Sanders and Knupp are both in the top five in scoring in the conference.
• Alma entered the contest playing the sixth toughest schedule in Division III.
• WashU had a 20-12 advantage in second-chance points.
• The 24 assists were a season high.