Held without a field goal for the final seven and a half minutes of play, the Washington University men’s basketball team suffered their first loss of the season in the 33rd Annual Lopata Classic Championship game to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Saturday night at the Wash. U. Field House.
While it’s still playoff season for most Washington University fall sports teams, the men’s and women’s basketball teams are just getting started. In this week’s season openers, the Washington University men’s basketball team held on for a slim 60-59 victory at Webster University, while the women’s team coasted to an 83-60 win against Westminster College at the Field House.
Up against Division I University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign—a program with 17 Big Ten championships—the Washington University men’s basketball team led for most of the first half, fell behind by as much as 29 and finally went on a 18-1 run to close the gap. It was enough to make the sparse exhibition game crowd shift in their seats but not enough to beat a team that occasionally sends players to the NBA.
Down by six and unable to stop the high-powered Case Western Reserve University offense, the Washington University men’s basketball team appeared willing to concede another defeat in what has been a difficult past three weeks for this historic program.
Through nearly 34 minutes of play, sophomore center David Schmelter had hit all eight of his free throws to help the Bears keep pace with a streaking Emory University. Yet it was his ninth and 10th of the afternoon, both misses, that helped seal the Washington University men’s basketball team’s 74-73 loss to the host Eagles.
The home crowd erupted when sophomore guard Kevin Kucera connected on a 30 foot buzzer beater over a Yellowjacket defender. Not that it mattered.
For two straight games, Washington University Men’s Basketball found itself in need of a three-point play in its final possession. Each time, the team came up short.
On Saturday night, the Washington University men’s basketball team rode the hot hand of sophomore Andrew Sanders and his fresh-faced supporting cast to cruise to a 78-62 victory over Johns Hopkins University and capture the Bears 17th-straight team title in the 32nd annual Lopata Classic.
Visiting DePauw University put on an offensive showcase and upset the No. 14 Bears 83-73 in the Field House on Thursday, ending Wash. U.’s season in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament.
After earning an at-large bid to the 2015 tournament with a 20-5 overall record and 9-5 University Athletic Association mark, the Red and Green will look to finally get over the hump and reach the postseason’s second weekend this season. Here is a quick look at what to expect from the Bears at this stage of tournament play.