Pittsburgh, Pa., Jan. 26, 2014 – The No. 8-ranked Washington University in St. Louis men's basketball team extended its winning streak to nine games with a 94-81 win at Carnegie Mellon University in University Athletic Association (UAA) play Sunday afternoon.
With the win, Washington U. improved to 14-2 overall and 5-0 in the UAA, marking the first 5-0 start to conference play for the Bears since the 2008-09 season. Carnegie Mellon dropped to 9-7 overall and 2-3 in the UAA.
Washington U. jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the opening 2:39 of the game behind three straight steals that led to baskets for the Bears. After taking a timeout, Carnegie Mellon got on the scoreboard and chipped away at the Bears' lead, trimming it to 23-19 with 11:12 to play in the first half. Washington U. answered by holding the Tartans scoreless over the next 3:54.
The Bears went on a 12-0 run, including a pair of threes by junior forward Matt Palucki, to take their largest lead of the half (35-19) with 7:36 left in the first half. Carnegie Mellon rallied to within 42-36, but a basket and free throw by Palucki stretched the lead back to nine. A free throw by junior guard David Fatoki with 40.4 seconds left in the half gave the Bears a nine-point lead, but Carnegie Mellon got a layup with one second left to make the score 48-41 at halftime.
Senior forward Chris Klimek took over in the first seven minutes of the second half, scoring 10 of the Bears' first 16 points of the half as the Bears stretched their lead to 69-52 with 12:52 remaining. The Tartans used a 9-0 run to pull to within 69-61, before a three-point play by sophomore forward Brandon Staffeil and Palucki's fifth three-pointer of the game made it a 14-point lead.
A fastbreak layup by Staffeil with 3:42 left gave Washington U. its largest lead of the game (81-64), but Carnegie Mellon answered with a 12-3 run to again cut the lead to single digits (84-76) with 1:16 on the clock. Palucki and senior guard Alan Aboona went 10-of-10 from the free-throw line in the final 1:06 to seal the win for Washington U.
Washington U. shot 51.7 percent (30-58) from the field in the game, including 7-of-17 (41.2 percent) from three-point range. The Bears also converted a season-high 27 free throws (27-31). Carnegie Mellon shot 49.2 percent (29-59) from the field, including 10-of-22 (45.5 percent) from beyond the arc. The Tartans were 13-of-19 at the free-throw line. Washington U. also finished with a 35-28 advantage in rebounding.
Palucki led all scorers with 27 points, equaling his career-high with five three-pointers. Klimek had 22 points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals and a blocked shot before fouling out late in the game. Aboona tallied 15 points, including 8-of-9 from the free-throw line. Staffeil scored in double-figures for the first time in his career, finishing with a career-high 12 points off the bench, all in the second half. Junior forward Nick Burt also finished in double figures for the Bears with 10 points, five rebounds and three assists, while senior guard Tim Cooney had a team-high seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Washington U. continues its stretch of four straight road games with contests at the University of Rochester and Emory University next weekend. The Bears travel to Rochester, N.Y., to take on the Yellowjackets at 8 p.m. (ET) Friday, Jan. 31, before heading to Atlanta to face Emory at Noon (ET) Sunday, Feb. 2.
Bear Notebook: Washington U. leads the all-time series with Carnegie Mellon 44-8, and the Bears have won 12 of the last 13 meetings … Head coach Mark Edwards has 597 wins … A win was No. 1,195 in program history (1,195-908) and No. 280 for Washington U. all-time in the UAA (280-86) … The Bears are now 12-1 when leading at the half this season, and have won 112 of their last 120 games when gaining the halftime advantage … Washington U.'s 94 points tied a season-high … Klimek is now 57 points shy of becoming the 21st member of Washington U.'s 1,000-point club … Cooney passed Sean Wallis (2005-10) for 10th on WUSTL's career steals leaderboard, and is four shy of ninth with 132 steals … Aboona has made a three-pointer in 32 straight games, and now has 142 in his career, which is tied for 10th on Washington U.'s career leaderboard with Kevin Suiter (1984-88).