Senior Tyler Nading scored a game-high 20 points and senior Sean Wallis added 16 points as the men’s basketball team repeated as NCAA Division III national champions with a 61-52 victory over Richard Stockton College at the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Va.
The win was the Bears’ 13th straight postseason victory. WUSTL is now the fourth NCAA Division III team to repeat as national champions, joining North Park University (1978-80), University of Wisconsin-Platteville (1998-99) and University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (2004-05).
“As you have found out all year long with this team, we find ways to win,” Coach Mark Edwards said. “It’s great to be back to the city of Salem, but even greater to walk out of here with the big trophy.”
Wallis was named the most outstanding player of the tournament after averaging 15.5 points and 7.5 assists per game in two games over the weekend.
Wallis, who was named a second-team all-American by D3hoops.com following the game, finished his record-breaking season with 251 assists. He also broke J.J. Siepierski’s (1993-96) all-time WUSTL assists record with 566.
Nading shot 9-of-11 from the field as he finished his four-year WUSTL career third in scoring with 1,552 points.
“My teammates did a great job finding me tonight,” Nading said. “This is the best way to go out as a senior. This year’s team had a completely new identity, and I am so happy for all of our teammates.”
Wallis had seven points and six assists to lead the Bears in the first half as WUSTL shot 46.2 percent (12-26) from the field. The defense was the story in the first half as the Bears held Richard Stockton without a field goal for 9:54 in the first half.
“It’s a dream come true,” Wallis said. “To be able to go out there and play the way I did the whole tournament is something I am really proud of.”
WUSTL won 20 of its past 21 games of the season to finish with a school-record 29-2 overall mark. The Bears posted a 10-1 record against teams ranked in the top 25, including six straight ranked opponents en route to the Division III national championship.
“When you have two seniors who go through four years and walk out with two national championship trophies, I think that speaks for itself,” Edwards said. “At the end of four years, they accomplished some things, and basketball was a big part of it along with friendships. But getting themselves prepared to move on in life is the biggest part.”
An on-campus celebration is being planned and information will be forthcoming in the eRecord.