ST. LOUIS (12-2) – The Banana Slugs played their first game of the 33rd Annual Lopata Classic as they took on the host Washington University in St. Louis. The Bears led for the majority of the contest and defeated the Banana Slugs 84-69.
In their last game, the Banana Slugs lost 77-72 to University of Redlands in Santa Cruz on Sunday while Washington University won 68-61 over Augustana College in Rock Island.
In the first half, the game was played at a back and forth pace. The Banana Slugs would take a 6-4 lead on a Corey Cilia three pointer with 17:11 left in the half. The two-point lead was the Banana Slugs' largest of the ballgame. The Bears would score the next two baskets and took the lead for good, at 8-6, on a Kevin Kucera layup with 15:20 left in the half. The Bears would gain a double digit lead at 18-8 on an Andrew Sanders layup with 11:16 left in the half. The closest the Banana Slugs would come would be eight, at 27-19, on a Ben Dorfman three pointer with 7:28 left in the half. The Bears led 41-29 at the halftime break.
In the second half, the Bears would continue to expand their double digit lead. The closest the Banana Slugs would come would be ten, at 64-54, on a Vinay Narayanam layup with 7:15 left in the game. The Bears would gain their largest lead of the game at twenty-four, at 78-54, on a Sasha Sobolev jumper with 3:26 left in the game. The Bears won 84-69 sending the Banana Slugs to their fourth straight defeat.
Cilia had fourteen points to lead the Banana Slugs. Sanders had a game high twenty three points for the Bears. Dorfman, off the bench, had twelve points and three players (Will Crain, Adam Marlow and Narayanam) had nine points apiece for the Banana Slugs in the loss. Matt Highsmith, off the bench, had sixteen and Kucera had fifteen for the Bears.
The Banana Slugs shot 41.1% (23-56) from the field, 52.4% (11-21) from the three-point line and was 63.2% (12-19) from the free throw line. The Bears shot 56.9% (33-58) from the field, 25% (5-20) from the three-point line and 54.2% (13-24) from the foul line. UC Santa Cruz's defense forced twenty turnovers by the Bears scoring twenty five points off the turnovers while the Bears' defense forced nineteen turnovers by UC Santa Cruz and scored twenty seven points off the turnovers. Washington outrebounded UC Santa Cruz 45-24 while the Bears had twenty more points in the paint (40-20) than did the Banana Slugs.
The next game for the Banana Slugs is tomorrow as they take on Rhodes College in the consolation championship of the Lopata Classic at 4 pm.