Dec. 20, 2008

Courtesy of Washington-St. Louis

Elmhurst, Ill., December 20, 2008 – The No. 1 ranked and defending NCAA Champion Washington University in St. Louis men’s basketball team had its 15-game winning streak snapped with a 82-75 loss at No. 10 Elmhurst College on Saturday afternoon in the championship game of the Bluejay Classic in Elmhurst, Ill. Washington U. suffers its first loss of the season and falls to 9-1, while Elmhurst improves its overall record to 9-1.
Senior Sean Wallis, Northbrook, Ill. (Glenbrook North) finished the contest with 10 points and a game-high 10 assists, breaking the tournament record with 16 assists in the two games. Junior Aaron Thompson, Elida, Ohio (Elida) added 18 points in the loss, while senior Tyler Nading, Highlands Ranch, Colo. (Thunder Ridge) also scored in double figures with 13 points. Nading moved into 10th place on the scoring list passing Brent Dalrymple (1992-96) with 1,273 points.
The Bears shot 46.4 percent (26-56) from the field for the game, but hit a season-low 21.4 percent (3-14) from three-point range. WU committed a season-low seven turnovers in the loss, and was outrebounded for the third-straight game (35-25).
Washington U. made it clear early in the game they were going to double team Elmhurst All-American Brent Ruch as the Bluejays connected on three of its first four three-pointers to move ahead 17-12 with 12:11 remaining in the first half.
Thompson kept the Bears in the game with eight points in the first seven minutes, but was held scoreless the rest of the half. The Bears tied the contest at 22-22 on a lay-up by junior John Wolf, Park Ridge, Ill. (Maine South) on the assist from Wallis, who had six dimes for Washington U. in the first half of play.
Dustin Bainter scored five of seven points to spearhead a 7-0 run to give the Bluejays a 29-22 advantage with 6:35 left. Washington U. cut the lead to 31-28 on a backdoor lay-up by junior Cameron Smith, Noblesville, Ind. (Noblesville), but the Bears would not get closer before intermission.
Mike McCurdy hit a driving lay-up and added two free-throws in the final three minutes as Elmhurst took a 38-32 lead to the locker room. Ruch was held to four points in the first half, but Bainter (10 points), McCurdy (eight) and Ryan Burks (seven) combined for 25 of the 38 points from their backcourt positions.
The Bears shot 48.1 percent (13-27) in the opening half, but hit 0-for-5 from three-point range. Elmhurst connected on 5-of-10 from beyond the arc in the first half, and outrebounded the Bears 18-10. The Bluejays also shot 53.5 percent (15-28) from the field in the opening half, which had six lead changes and three ties.
Elmhurst scored the first five points of the second half and Washington U. did not score on its first four trips of the second half before a timeout by head coach Mark Edwards. Wallis drained a three-pointer from the corner, the Bears first of the game, and then Nading recorded a three-point play to make it 43-38.
Washington U. cut the lead to three (51-48) on a three-pointer by sophomore Caleb Knepper, Newton, Ill. (Newton), but a 9-0 run by Elmhurst gave the Bluejays a 60-48 lead with 9:05 remaining before another timeout by Edwards. WU cut the lead to four five times in the last 6:26, but would not get closer as they had its 22-game non-conference winning streak snapped.
Ruch, the tournament Most Valuable Player, had 16 points and 10 rebounds while hitting 8-of-8 from the foul line. Burks added 17 points en route to his all-tournament team award, while Bainter (10) and McCurdy (10) also scored in double figures. Elmhurst shot 52.0 percent (26-50) from the field and 87.5 percent (21-24) from the free-throw line.
Washington University will have 15 days off before returning to action on Monday, Jan. 5, at 3 p.m., at local-rival Webster University. The Gorloks are 2-6 overall, and have lost three-straight games.