St. Louis, Mo., Dec. 31, 2017 – Senior forward Matt Highsmith scored a career-high 22 points and freshman guard Jack Nolan added 21 off the bench as the No. 10-ranked Washington University in St. Louis men's basketball team wrapped up non-conference play with a 79-71 win over Westminster College Sunday at the WU Field House in St. Louis.
WashU improved to 9-2 with the win, while Westminster had its four-game win streak snapped and fell to 7-4.
Highsmith was 9-of-14 from the field, including 4-of-7 from three-point range, in a career-high 39 minutes of action. Nolan was 9-of-13 from the field, including 5-of-10 from three-point range, as he scored in double figures for the fifth-straight game.
WashU shot 48.3 percent (29-of-60) from the field, and tied a season-high with 10 threes. The Bears hit just 11-of-19 from the free-throw line and had 17 turnovers.
The Bears started slow connecting on just 3-of-12 from the field, and trailed 16-8 in the opening eight minutes of play. Highsmith scored five-straight points on a pair of assists from sophomore forward Hank Hunter to trim the lead to 16-13.
Westminster took its largest lead of the game at 23-13 with 7:28 before half on a three-point play by Kobe Wands. Nolan ignited an 11-0 run with five points to get the lead back for WashU at 24-23
Highsmith nailed a three-pointer with 1:30 to play and then Nolan canned a three with seven seconds left to give WashU the 38-35 lead at half. Highsmith (12 points) and Nolan (11) scored in double figures for the Bears, who shot 45.2 percent (14-of-31) from the field but hit just 5-of-11 from the free-throw line.
Highsmith hit a pair of threes early in the second half to give WashU the 44-43 lead, and a bucket by Nolan made it 52-49.
WashU trailed 66-63 when senior guard Kevin Kucera nailed his first three of the game to tie the score with 4:55 left. Kucera's three, followed by a three-pointer by Nolan, ignited a 12-0 run to give the Bears the lead for good.
Wands (13), Stu Hollandsworth (12), Collin Caywood (10) and Cody Shaw (10) all scored in double figures for Westminster, who shot 41.4 percent (29-of-70) from the field and hit 9-of-31 threes.
WashU opens up conference play against the University of Chicago (4-7) on Saturday, Jan. 6. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. at the WU Field House.
• WashU leads the all-time series with Westminster 20-6.
• The two teams met for the first time since 2010, also a 79-71 win for WashU.
• The double-double for Sanders was the 14th of his career.
• Nolan added a career-high three blocks.
• Kucera had nine assists in the win to up his career total to 388.
• Sanders leads the conference in scoring (19.0).