The No. 8 Washington University in St. Louis men’s basketball team captured the 24th Annual Lopata Classic championship with a 68-66 win over Babson College on Saturday night at the WU Field House.
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Junior Tyler Nading earned the Robert L. Burnes Most Valuable Player honors for the second-straight season, scoring 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field. Craig Borengasser of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges, Brian MacDonald and Kyle McDonald of Babson College, senior Danny O’Boyle of Washington University, and Nick Welsh of Earlham College, were also named to the All-Tournament Team.
A lay-up by Nading early in the second half gave Washington U. a 35-31 lead, and then another bucket by Nading pushed the lead to 47-42 with 12:26 remaining. The Bears took its largest lead of the game at 61-54 with 5:01 remaining, when Babson mounted its comeback. A three-pointer by McDonald cut the lead to two (61-59), and then a three by Zach Etten trimmed the Bears’ lead to one at 63-62 with 2:46 left.
McDonald drained his fifth three-pointer of the game to give Babson a 65-63 lead with 1:29 left before Nading made 1-of-2 free-throws to cut the lead to one. Nading recorded a steal on the ensuing play, and gave the Bears a 66-65 lead with 39 seconds after scoring on a lay-up. McDonald was fouled and made 1-of-2 free-throws on the next possession, and then committed a costly foul with 7.9 seconds left sending sophomore Aaron Thompson to the line.
Thompson drained both free-throws to put the Bears up 68-66, giving Babson one more chance. McDonald was doubled at the top of the key with two seconds remaining and fired a pass to George Halcovage, who missed an open lay-up at the buzzer.
Washington U. struggled offensively early in the game as Babson held an 11-5 lead through the first six minutes, taking advantage of six WU turnovers. A three-pointer by McDonald with 11:39 remaining in the first half pushed the Beavers lead to 16-10. Washington U.’s bench came into play late in the first half as senior Troy Ruths and Nading each had two fouls.
Nading tied the game for the fourth time (22-22) with a jumper at the 5:27 mark, and then sophomore Tom Blount put back an offensive rebound with one-second left to knot the score at 29-29 at half. Nading had 10 points in the first half, as WU outrebounded Babson 24-12. McDonald led all scorers in the first half with 15 points.
Sophomore Cameron Smith tied his career-high with 10 points, while Ruths also added 10 points, five rebounds and four blocks. Thompson added seven points, a career-high 10 rebounds, and six assists in 40 minutes of action. The Bears outrebounded Babson, 40-23, and had a 12-3 advantage in second-chance points.
MacDonald finished with a game-high 32 points on 5-of-6 shooting from three-point range. Chris Bradley added 10 points in the loss for Babson, which dropped its overall record to 2-5.
In the consolation game, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges posted a 60-47 win over Earlham College. Dan Winterbottom had 12 points to lead Claremont-Mudd Scripps, while Welsh added 21 points for Earlham.
Washington University (5-2) hosts Illinois Wesleyan University on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 3 p.m. That day, the Washington U. Department of Athletics is teaming up with the Siteman Cancer Center and Coaches vs. Cancer to bring awareness to the fight against cancer and to help raise money for cancer research. Donations will be encouraged (as admission is free) and there will be information on both organizations and how you can help with this ongoing battle.