Jan. 16, 2010

Courtesy of Washington-St. Louis

The No. 3 Washington University in St. Louis men’s basketball team was upset by No. 20 Brandeis University, 58-55, on Friday night at the WU Field House in St. Louis, Mo. The loss broke a streak of 86-straight victories when the Bears held an opponent under 60 points.
Washington U. trailed Brandeis by just four points, 30-26, at halftime, despite a field goal drought that lasted nearly nine minutes late in half. The Bears, who led by as many as six points in the first, took an 18-14 lead as graduate student Sean Wallis found senior Cameron Smith underneath the basket for a wide-open lay-up at the 10:34 mark.
However, Brandeis countered with a 14-1 scoring run over the next 8:54 to stake claim to a 28-19 lead. Washington University missed seven-consecutive field goals and turned the ball over five times during that stretch. WU turned the ball over 11 times over the first 20 minutes of action, and Brandeis ended the half with a 15-5 advantage in points off turnovers.
Senior Aaron Thompson made a lay-up with 1:40 showing on the clock to bring the Bears’ scoreless stretch to an end and just 31 seconds later Thompson found Smith in the corner for a three that cut WU’s deficit to just four. Wallis led Washington U. with 10 first-half points, while Thompson chipped in eight.
Brandeis matched its largest lead of the game by pulling ahead by nine points to start the second half. Junior Spencer Gay kept Washington U. in the game by scoring eight-straight points for the Red and Green, who trailed just 37-34 on Gay’s fourth field goal of the first four minutes of the half.
The Judges pulled back ahead by seven points and maintained their lead until Thompson went coast-to-coast for a lay-up and Wallis found sophomore Alex Toth under the basket for a lay-up on back-to-back possession to tie the score at 43-43. From that point both teams struggled offensively, combining to score six points over the next 8:34 until Brandeis’ Kriskus Vytus drilled a three-pointer to give the Judges a 49-46 lead with under four minutes to play.
The Bears went 9:20 between field goals until Wallis found Gay under the basket for a lay-up with just 12 second remaining to knot the score at 49-49. On Brandeis’ ensuring possession Andre Roberson missed a jumper in the lane as the clock neared expiration and the game went into overtime.
Brandeis took a four-point lead in the extra period as Tyrone Hughes drove through the lane to lay it in with 3:10 remaining, but WU tied the score once again, 53-53, when Thompson drained a pair of free-throws at the 1:28 mark. But Brandeis was 4-of-4 from the line down the stretch to hold on for the victory.
Thompson led Washington U. in scoring with 19 points, while Wallis scored 10 points to go along with eight assists. The Bears turned the ball over 21 times, leading to a 28-11 advantage in points off turnovers for Brandeis. WU also struggled from the free-throw line, where they shot 10-of-22 (45.5 percent) as a team. Roberson led Brandeis with 15 points, while Hughes chipped in 13.
Washington University (11-2, 1-1 UAA) continues conference play at home against New York University on Sunday, Jan. 17, at Noon. The Violets are 10-3 overall, including 1-1 in the UAA, after a 65-58 loss at University of Chicago on Friday.

Bear Notebook: With eight assists, Wallis increased his career total to 673, moving into 15th-place all-time in Division III history … Thompson moved into 10th place in school history in points scored, increasing his career tall to 1,369 … The Bears have a 53-5 overall record at home dating back to the 2005-06 season … Washington U. has hit a three-pointer in 325-consecutive games.