St. Louis, Mo., November 23, 2013 – Senior guard Alan Aboona earned the Robert L. Burnes Most Player Award of the 30th Annual Lopata Classic after scoring 19 points to lead the No. 11-ranked Washington University in St. Louis men's basketball team to a 76-68 win over Whitman College Saturday at the WU Field House in St. Louis.
Aboona, who was joined on the all-tournament team by senior forward Chris Klimek, averaged 18.5 points and eight assists per game in the tournament and was two shy of the tournament record for assists. Aboona is the fifth player in school history to earn multiple Lopata Classic MVP Awards.
Klimek chipped in with 12 points and seven rebounds in the win, while junior forward Nick Burt had 12 points, five rebounds and five assists. Junior forward Matt Palucki added 10 points and six assists. The Bears shot 52.9 percent (27-51) from the field and hit a season-high nine three-pointers. Washington U. was hampered by a season-high 18 turnovers and hit just 13-of-28 from the foul line.
With the score tied 13-13 early in the first half, Washington U. scored five-straight points highlighted by Palucki's second three-pointer of the game. Whitman, who played 14 players in the opening half, cut the lead to three with a pair of three-pointers.
The Bears got the lead back to double figures (42-32) with an 11-2 run as sophomore guard Luke Silverman-Lloyd nailed a triple and senior guard Tim Cooney and Klimek followed with a pair of lay-ups. Klimek had 10 points as the Bears took a 44-37 lead to half after shooting 56.3 percent (18-32) from the field and hitting 6-of-13 from three-point range. Despite committing nine turnovers against the Whitman press, Washington U. had a 13-5 advantage in points off turnovers.
Washington U. led by two midway through the second half when Aboona converted a four-point play for the second-straight game and then sophomore forward Brandon Staffeil connected on a pair of free-throws to make it 57-49 with 13:13 to play.
Whitman (0-3) got the lead down to two after a bucket by Tochi Oti, but Aboona and Silverman-Lloyd canned three's to get the deficit back to six. Washington U. got the lead up to double figures after a lay-up by Burt with 7:13 to play. The Missionaries got as close as four (72-68) with less than three minutes left on a bucket by Dominic Lippi, but that was the last bucket of the game for Whitman.
Oti (15 points), Lippi (14), Josh Duckworth (13) and Matt Mounier (13) all scored in double figures for Whitman, who shot 37.7 percent (23-61) from the field in the loss.
Washington U. (4-0) travels to Carthage College for a 7 p.m. game Wednesday, Nov. 27, before returning home to host DePauw University at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1.
Bear Notebook: Washington U. has won 30-straight games in the Lopata Classic and has an all-time record of 54-6 (.900) … The Bears have won all three meetings between the two teams.