St. Louis, Mo., January 2, 2014 — Senior forward Chris Klimek scored a career-high 34 points and added nine rebounds to lead the No. 9-ranked Washington University in St. Louis men's basketball team to an 84-80 win over No. 24 Wheaton College (Ill.) Thursday night at the WU Field House in St. Louis.
Klimek was 12-of-19 from the field and 10-of-13 from the free-throw line as he bettered his career-high of 31 points set on Nov. 23, 2012, vs. Austin College. Junior forward Matt Palucki added 16 points and tied a career-high with four three-pointers, while senior guard Alan Aboona added 10 points and 10 assists for his fourth career double-double.
Washington U. shot 48.3 percent from the field in the win, including 53.8 percent (14-of-26) in the second half. The Bears also had a solid night at the free-throw line hitting 18-of-23, including 8-of-9 in the final 2:43.
With the game tied at 78-78 with 43.1 seconds remaining, Caleb DeMoss fouled Aboona on a three-point attempt on the wing. Aboona made all three at the charity stripe to make it 81-78, and then after a defensive stop, Aboona was fouled on the rebound. He made two more free-throws to push the lead to five with 17.7 seconds left.
Klimek had the hot hand for Washington U. in the first half scoring 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting in the first half. He also had a team-high seven rebounds, including four on the offensive boards.
Aboona capped a 9-2 run early in the contest as Washington U. held a 16-13 lead. A three-pointer by junior guard David Fatoki and a triple by sophomore guardLuke Silverman-Lloyd made it 23-21, and then a tip-in by sophomore forwardBrandon Staffeil pushed the lead to 25-21.
DeMoss' third three-pointer of the half cut the lead to 27-26 with 6:01 to play, but Klimek scored six-straight to break the 31-31 tie with 4:00 to play. Klimek made 3-of-4 free-throws to end the first half as Washington U. took a 40-36 lead to the locker room.
DeMoss had 15 points on 5-of-6 three-pointers in the opening half as Wheaton canned eight three-pointers. Senior preseason All-American Tyler Peters was limited to five points but had eight assists in the first half, including four to DeMoss. The Bears had a 23-12 rebounding advantage, and turned 11 offensive rebounds into nine points.
Peters spearheaded a 7-0 run with five points in the opening three minutes of the second half to give Wheaton the 45-42 forcing a WUSTL timeout. Washington U. got the lead back with a 9-4 run to make it 51-49, but the Thunder scored six points in a minute to give Wheaton the 55-51 lead.
Wheaton (7-4) led by three (60-57) with 8:44 remaining when Peters picked up his fourth foul of the game. The Bears managed to get the lead back at 61-60, but a three by DeMoss and five-straight points by Michael Berg gave Wheaton the 68-64 advantage. With Peters still on the bench, Palucki canned a pair of threes from the corner to highlight a 10-0 run to make it 74-68 with 3:44 to play.
DeMoss had a season-high 20 points (6-7 3FG) and six assists off the bench, while Peters was held to 15 points on 5-of-15 shooting after a superb defensive effort by senior guard Tim Cooney. Peters also added a season-high 11 assists. Berg (12 points) and Nate Haynes (10 points, 10 rebounds) also scored in double figures for Wheaton, which has lost all four of their road games this season. Wheaton made a season-high 14-of-29 from three-point range in the loss.
Washington U. (8-2) closes out non-conference play at home Saturday, Jan. 4, against Webster University. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. at the WU Field House.
Bear Notebook: Washington U. leads the all-time series with Wheaton, 14-9 … Head coach Mark Edwards picked up career win number 591 … Aboona has scored in double figures in all 10 games this season and 38 in his career … The game was tied eight times and had 19 lead changes.