2008 Division III men's basketball tournament

Most Outstanding Player, Wash U's Troy Ruths

Photo by Evans Clinchy, D3hoops.com

Troy Ruths crossed the 30-point plateau for the second straight game as he helped lead Washington University in St. Louis to its first NCAA Division III men's basketball championship with a 90-68 victory over Amherst College. The Bears, 25-6 on the season, add this title to a third place finish in 2007. The Lord Jeffs finished the season as national runner up with a 27-4 record.

While memorable for all the Bears, the Division III finals were especially poignant for Troy Ruths. The senior big man had already been awarded the 2008 Jostens Trophy earlier in the week, and two straight 30-plus point contests earned him the Most Outstanding Player award for the championship series. In the two games, Ruths made 20-of-28 shots from the field (71.4%) and 23-of-26 free throws (88.5%) including 15-of-17 against Amherst.

Washington U.'s lead hovered around the low double figures before Amherst worked it down to six points following a jumper by Andrew Olson with 3:04 left in the first half. The Bears finished the half on a 10-3 spurt to go into the locker room up 45-32. Aaron Thompson notched five of his 11 first half points during that span.

The second stanza opened with a few minutes of traded baskets before the Jeffs worked the deficit back down to six points at 55-49 on a layup by Brian Baskauskas with 15:07 to play. The Bears responded quickly, outscoring Amherst 14-2 over the next five minutes to move out to an 18-point lead at 69-51 with 10:04 to go.

Amherst tried to work itself back into the contest, but the Bears marched the Jeffs shot for shot on the back of a 70-percent shooting performance in the second half.

Ruths added a game-best eight rebounds with three assists and three steals to his 33-point night. Thompson finished with 19 points including three makes from behind the arc. Tyler Nading notched 13 points to go with five boards, four assists and four steals. Fletcher Walters led Amherst with 17 points, five boards and four steals. Olson added 16 points while Baskauskas and Brandon Jones scored 12 each. Jones pulled down a team-high seven rebounds.

Washington U. 90, Amherst 68
at Salem, Va.

All-Tournament Team
Troy Ruths, Washington U. (Most Outstanding Player)
Aaron Thompson, Washington U.
Andrew Olson, Amherst
Derek Van Solkema, Hope
John Noonan, Ursinus

Third-Place Game
Hope 100, Ursinus 86

National Semifinals
Washington U. 89, Hope 74
Amherst 84, Ursinus 58

Sectional championships
Washington U. 57, Millsaps 46
Hope 83, Wheaton (Ill.) 70
Amherst 65, Brandeis 55
Ursinus 82, Coast Guard 76 OT

First Round
March 6-7
Second Round
March 8
Sectionals at Hope
March 14-15

at Centre 75
Franklin 61

Ohio Wesleyan 82
at Centre 65
Hope 71
Ohio Wesleyan 63
Ohio Wesleyan 83
Heidelberg 62
at Capital 92
Bethany 70
at Hope 92
Capital 70

at Occidental 52
Pomona-Pitzer 51

at Whitworth 83
Occidental 75
Wheaton (Ill.) 76
Whitworth 67
Loras 71
at Wis.-Whitewater 70
Wheaton (Ill.) 76
Loras 73
Wheaton (Ill.) 93 OT
Lawrence 83 
First Round Second Round Sectionals at Ursinus
Coast Guard 70
at Trinity (Conn.) 65
Coast Guard 50
at Mass.-Dartmouth 47
Coast Guard 57
Rochester 48
at Rochester 56
Middlebury 43
at Rochester 65
Penn St.-Behrend 56
Penn St.-Behrend 83
Farmingdale St. 62
at Ursinus 94
Baptist Bible 76
at Ursinus 70
Virginia Wesleyan 64
Ursinus 79
Gettysburg 55
Virginia Wesleyan 80
WPI 75
at Gettysburg 95
Salem St. 87
at Gettysburg 66
Elms 65
Elms 71
Scranton 53
First Round Second Round Sectionals at Amherst
John Jay 80
at Moravian 74
at Amherst 96
John Jay 74
Amherst 85
Richard Stockton 77
at Richard Stockton 84 OT
Immaculata 75
at Richard Stockton 78
Rhode Island College 70
Rhode Island College 77
Nazareth 73
at King's 96
Clarkson 66
at Plattsburgh St. 83 OT
King's 77
Brandeis 74
Plattsburgh St. 63
at Brandeis 80
Lasell 59
at Brandeis 68
Bowdoin 53
Bowdoin 79
Curry 49
First Round Second Round Sectionals at Washington U.
at Augustana 72
Aurora 61
Washington U. 70 OT
at Augustana 67
Washington U. 85 OT
Buena Vista 77
Washington U. 79
Wooster 74
Buena Vista 72
at St. Thomas 70
Buena Vista 54
Wis.-Stevens Point 53
Wis.-Stevens Point 67
Chicago 53
St. Mary's (Md.) 89
at Guilford 77
St. Mary's (Md.) 83
Widener 74
Millsaps 82
St. Mary's (Md.) 73
Widener 87
Averett 78
at Millsaps 80
Maryville (Tenn.) 72
at Millsaps 57
Mary Hardin-Baylor 56
Mary Hardin-Baylor 65
Fontbonne 62