Men’s basketball drops first conference match of season

| Sports Reporter

No. 23 New York University handed the Washington University men’s basketball team its first conference loss of the season, 89-75 Sunday at the Wash. U. Field House.

The Bears fell into a three-way tie for first place in the University Athletic Association after the loss to NYU and an 80-54 home win over Brandeis on Friday. The Bears are tied with NYU and No. 8 Emory University at 4-1 in conference play.

NYU shot a blistering 66 percent from the field to improve to 14-1 overall and drop Wash. U. to 12-4. Guard Kyle Stockmal and center Andy Stein combined for 41 points on 15-18 shooting for the Violets. The Bears played a solid all-around game but could not contain the dynamic NYU offense.

“When [NYU is] running a system like that [and playing patiently] and they know what they’re looking for… it makes it very difficult for us to come back,” head coach Mark Edwards said. “That’s the hard part about it—you have to play flawlessly.”

In the first half, NYU’s stifling defense frustrated the Bears, who fell behind 21-8 after a string of turnovers led to open looks for NYU on the other end. Wash. U. fought back with inside baskets and some defensive aggressiveness of their own, but NYU headed into the break with a 38-27 edge. The Bears were off target from the three-point range against the tight perimeter defense, converting only two of 10 attempts.

NYU opened the second half with a three-point basket, but Wash. U. answered on a layup by senior center Alex Toth and a three-pointer by sophomore guard Alan Aboona. The Bears narrowed their deficit to six points on a three-pointer by freshman guard Brayden Teuscher with 15:31 left, but momentum returned to NYU after a timeout.

“Some teams will go out of their system and do one-on-one kind of stuff; some people will create for themselves,” said senior guard Dylan Richter, who led the Bears with 18 points on 7-23 shooting, “But they stick to their system, and they run it really well. We played well—we had a game plan for it—but everything just fell their way, whether it was shots or loose balls.”

The Red and Green’s fortune was much better two days earlier against Brandeis.

A week after poor three-point and free-throw accuracy nearly did them in versus Carnegie Mellon, the Bears responded with their best all-around shooting game of the season on Friday. The team made 56.4 percent of its field goals and held Brandeis to 35.3 percent shooting en route to a blowout win.

The Bears were 8-15 from three-point range and 10-13 from the free-throw line. Richter and Aboona combined for 33 points on an efficient 17 shot attempts.

Teuscher, who had nine points and seven assists in 19 minutes off the bench, credited the Bears’ shooting turnaround to a pair of factors.

“Part of it is just being at home and being more comfortable in our home gym than we would be on the road, and another part of it is we just played with a lot more confidence and aggressiveness,” Teuscher said.

Brandeis jumped out to an 8-3 lead in the first two minutes, but a 13-2 run by the Bears quickly turned the deficit into a distant memory. Wash. U. raced ahead of Brandeis with 60.9 percent first half shooting, heading into the intermission with a 41-31 lead.

Brandeis could not find any rhythm in the second half as the Bears kept finding and hitting open shots. Aboona followed up a three-pointer with a driving layup for a 50-33 advantage with 16:21 to play. Later in the half, Brandeis endured a stretch of only three points scored in almost eight minutes, allowing Wash. U. to take a 30-point lead.

“Our coaches did a good job of knowing how we should be defending them,” Teuscher said. “We really executed what the coaches told us to do, so that was a lot of times getting out on the personnel we knew were shooters or covering certain plays.”

Edwards used his third different starting lineup in the last six games, replacing Teuscher with sophomore guard Tim Cooney for the weekend.

The Bears face University of Rochester on Friday, Jan. 20, and Emory University on Sunday, Jan. 22, in the Wash. U. Field House.

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