Bears basketball back to the Final Four

The men’s basketball team is headed to the Division III Final Four for the second consecutive year after earning a 57-46 win against No. 14 Millsaps College in the sectional final at the WUSTL Field House March 14.

Senior Troy Ruths earned Sectional MVP honors after scoring a game-high 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field. Junior Tyler Nading also was named to the all-sectional team, averaging 15 points, 7.5 rebounds and five steals per game.

Tyler Nading (left) and Troy Ruths celebrate their second consecutive trip to the Final Four after defeating Millsaps College March 14. Both Nading and Ruths were named to the all-sectional team.

The Bears advance to the Final Four for the second time in school history and will face No. 1 Hope College in the national semifinal at the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Va., at 6 p.m. Friday, March 21.

No. 11 WUSTL and Hope last met in the NCAA tournament a year ago, when the Bears earned a 58-55 win in the sectional final in Stevens Point, Wis.

“This team has found ways all year long to win, so this one tonight didn’t surprise me,” said coach Mark Edwards, who picked up his 475th career victory. “I couldn’t be more proud of them. This is probably one of the biggest gut checks they’ve had all season.”

Before the sectional final, Ruths was named Division III player of the year as the winner of the prestigious Jostens Trophy, a national award created by the Rotary Club of Salem, Va., to honor the outstanding men’s and women’s Division III basketball players in the country.

The trophy presentation is scheduled for Thursday, March 20, at the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Va.