St. Louis, Mo., Nov. 23, 2019 – Sophomore Justin Hardy earned the Robert L. Burnes Most Valuable Player Award as the No. 7 ranked Washington University in St. Louis men's basketball team won the 36th Annual Lopata Classic Championship with a hard-fought 56-55 win over the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Saturday at the WU Field House in St. Louis.
Hardy recorded the first double-double of his career with 14 points and a career-high 10 rebounds in the win. He averaged 20.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game in the two victories.
WashU improved to 4-1 with the win, while UWEC suffered its first loss of the year and dropped to 4-1.
Whitworth defeated Coe 73-59 in the third-place game.
Joining Hardy on the All-Tournament Team was senior Jonathan Arenas (WashU), Carter Brooks (UW-Eau Claire), Ben College (Whitworth), Cole Rabedeaux (UW-Eau Claire) and Jacob Robertson (Coe).
Arenas averaged 4.5 points, 10.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game for the Bears. He had four points, a career-high 17 rebounds and five assists in the win over UW-Eau Claire. The 17 rebounds were two shy of the Lopata Classic single-game record.
WashU took the early 15-12 advantage after an 8-0 run by the Bears, which included a three-pointer from the wing by junior Payden Webb. Another three, this time from senior DeVaughn Rucker, and a dunk from Hardy extended the lead to 20-14.
UW-Eau Claire responded with an 8-0 run of their own to cut the lead to one (24-23). The teams went to the locker room tied at 26. WashU shot 31.0 percent (9-29) from the field and outrebounded UW-Eau Claire 26-18. Arenas had 11 rebounds to lead the Bears.
Senior Matt Nester banked in a three and then Nolan canned a triple to get the up to nine (41-32) and force a timeout by UWEC with 12:53 to play.
Arenas scored on a lay-up with 2:06 to play to make it 56-50, but UW-Eau Claire scored a pair of buckets to get the lead down to one with 37 seconds left. Rabedeaux had a chance to win it for the second-straight night but his three fell short at the buzzer.
Rabedeaux had 14 points to lead UW-Eau Claire, while Brooks added 12 points and seven boards.
WashU continues a five-game home stand by hosting Webster on Tuesday, Nov. 26 and No. 17 Augustana (Ill.) on Sunday, Dec. 1.
BEAR NOTEBOOK: WashU leads the all-time series with UW-Eau Claire 3-1, and the teams have split a pair of games in Lopata Championship games … The Bears are 2-1 this season against teams from the WIAC … WashU has an all-time record of 63-8 (.887) in the Lopata Classic, and have won the tournament championship 25 times.