Bears win National Championship
Updated 6:48 p.m., March 22.
For the first time in school history, the Bears have won the NCAA Division III men’s basketball national championships.
The Red and Green defeated No. 2 ranked Amherst College, 90-68 in Salem, Va. on Saturday.
Senior co-captain Troy Ruths was named MVP and d3hoops.com Player of the Year. Ruths and sophomore Aaron Thompson were also named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team.
The 11th ranked Bears, who reached the Final Four last season, controlled the contest against the defending national champions from the opening tip, never trailing in the contest.
WU jumped out to an 11-4 lead at the 15:48 mark and would lead by double digits for most of the half, though the Amherst Lord Jeffs cut the lead to six with 3:04 left in the opening period. The Bear’s played a virtually perfect first half, shooting 53% from the field and taking a 45-32 lead into the locker room.
The Bears dominated the second half, extending the 13 point lead to 74-58 with six minutes left in the game. Ruths led the way with another 33 point outing, junior co-captain Tyler Nading dropped 13, sophomore Aaron Thomson added 19 and senior co-captain Danny O’Boyle scored eight.
Overall, the Bears shot 60% from the floor, 47% from behind the arc, and 82% from the free throw line.
Amherst received double digit efforts from Andrew Olson, Brian Baskauskas, and Fletcher Walters, but they could not overcome the large lead that WU took to begin the contest.
The national title marks the first for Head Coach Mark Edwards in an impressive 27 year carrier at his alma mater. Over his tenure at Wash. U., Edwards has accumulated a .671 winning percentage and 476 wins.
Washington University was ranked #1 in the d3hoops.com preseason poll, and the team will end the season in the top spot despite losing point guard Sean Wallis for the season after the third game. Sophomore Ross Kelly took over the ball handling, and he had two points and five assists against the Lord Jeffs to end the season.
Ruths, the Jostens Trophy winner, also contributed eight rebounds, three assists, and three steals in the final game of his career.
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