St. Louis, Mo., Jan. 6, 2018 – The No. 10-ranked Washington University in St. Louis men's basketball team opened University Athletic Association (UAA) play with a 79-78 win over the University of Chicago Saturday at the WU Field House.
WashU scored the final eight points of the game, including a pair of free-throws by senior guard Jake Knupp with 6.1 seconds left. Knupp finished the game with 15 points and three assists.
WashU improved to 10-2 and 1-0 in the UAA, while Chicago lost its fourth-straight game and fell to 4-8 and 0-1 in the league.
Freshman guard Jack Nolan scored all 16 of his points in the second half on 3-of-4 three-point shooting, while senior forward Andrew Sanders had 16 points and nine rebounds. Senior center David Schmelter recorded a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds, while senior guard Kevin Kucera added 10 points, seven assists and a season-high seven rebounds.
WashU led 8-5 in the opening three minutes hitting 4-of-5 shots from the field, but went ice cold in the next four minutes. The Bears missed nine-straight shots and Chicago responded with a 14-0 run to take the 19-8 lead and force a WashU timeout.
The Maroons took their largest lead of the game at 29-13 with 9:25 left on a lay-up by Cole Schmitz. WashU hit just 6-of-24 from the field to start the contest.
The Bears closed the gap with an 8-0 run to trim the lead to 35-29 with 3:02 before half. Jake Fenlon canned a wing three with nine seconds left to give Chicago the 45-34 lead at half. The Maroons hit 6-of-14 from three-point range in the first half.
Knupp had nine points in the first half as WashU shot 37.8 percent (14-of-37) from the field, and was 0-for-7 from three-point range.
Nolan nailed back-to-back threes to get the lead down to four (52-48), and then a lay-up by Sanders made it 52-50. An 8-2 run by Chicago got the lead back to double figures at 64-54 with 9:10 left.
Nolan hit a three-pointer with 1:48 to play to trim the lead to four (78-74), and then after a defensive stop Nolan was fouled on a three and canned all three from the line. After another defensive stop, Nolan missed a 15-foot jumper and Knupp pulled down the rebound and was fouled on the put-back.
WashU shot 41.9 percent (31-of-74) from the field, and the Bears outrebounded Chicago 45-38 and committed a season-low six turnovers.
Fenlon (17 points) and Ryan Jacobsen (14 points, nine rebounds) each scored in double figures for Chicago, who hit 11-of-31 from three-point range.
WashU continues its five-game home stand against Brandeis University (4-7, 0-1 UAA) on Friday, Jan. 12. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. at the WU Field House.
• WashU leads the all-time series with Chicago, 51-21
• The Bears are 21-10 all-time in UAA openers.
• Kucera is five assists shy of 400 for his career.
• Sanders has scored in double figures in 22-straight games.
• Chicago is 0-6 on the road this season.