CWRU Men’s Basketball Tops Lynchburg in 64-63 Thriller

CWRU Men’s Basketball Tops Lynchburg in 64-63 Thriller

The Case Western Reserve University Spartans were able to hold on for a win in a back-and-forth contest on Friday night, topping Lynchburg College 64-63 in the opening game of the Doc Greene Tournament at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.

The win was the second of the season for the Spartans, who improved to 2-4 overall, and will now take on the winner of the game between host Juniata and the College of St. Joseph in the tournament championship game on Saturday at 4:00 p.m.  Lynchburg dropped to 4-3 with the loss.

Junior forward T.J. Duckett connected on 10-of-11 shots from the field for a game-high 22 points (including 10 second-chance points), and came just a rebound shy of a double-double.  Junior guard Colin Zucker finished with 13 points and seven rebounds, hitting on four-of-seven three-point attempts, including a key three pointer with just over two minutes remaining in the game to give the Spartans the lead for good.  Freshman Sam Hansen added 12 points on four-of-eight shooting from long range, and senior guard Javier Alvarez rounded out the Spartans' double-figure scorers with 11 points.  Junior forward Eric Black came off the bench to lead all players on Friday with 11 rebounds.

Zucker hit a pair of threes and Duckett added a pair of rebounds in the first three minutes of Friday's game to get the Spartans off to a 10-0 lead.  CWRU's advantage grew to 11 on a three-pointer by Alvarez with 13:52 left in the half, before a run by Lynchburg tied the game at 17-17 with 10:57 to play.  Hansen quickly gave the Spartans the lead back with three-straight three-point shots, and after an and-one by Duckett and a free throw by junior forward Eric Black, the Spartans regained an 11-point advantage, 30-19, with 7:18 to play in the half.

A 13-1 run by the Hornets gave Lynchburg its first lead of the game with 5:17 left in the first, but Duckett kept the Spartans close, scoring the team's final six points of the half, including a pair on a dunk off an offensive rebound with 0.2 seconds left that gave Case Western Reserve the lead back, 36-35.  However, Duckett was called for a technical foul for hanging on the rim on the play, and the resulting free throw was made by Lynchburg, tying the score at 36-36 heading into halftime.

The Spartans connected on six-of-11 three point attempts in the first half, and shot 48.1% (13-of-27) overall from the field.  Duckett finished the first 20 minutes with 14 points and seven rebounds for the Spartans.

Lynchburg took the early lead in the second half, and the Spartans would not get back in front until a layup by Alvarez and a three-pointer by Hansen on consecutive possession gave CWRU a 54-52 lead with 6:39 to play.  The teams would trade leads six more times over the next four minutes, until Zucker's three with 2:01 remaining put the Spartans out in front 61-60, and after a layup by Alvarez and a free throw by Zucker, CWRU held a four-point advantage with 32.5 to play. 

The Hornets would not go away easily, as Zack Burnett knocked down a three-pointer with 18 seconds remaining to trim the lead to a point.  After a pair of missed free throws by junior guard Jake Lavis, Lynchburg had one final chance, but a layup by Burnett at the buzzer rolled in-and-out, and the Spartans held on for the victory.

The Spartans finished the game shooting 44.4% from the field, and connected on 10-of-27 shots from long range and outscored Lynchburg 11-3 on second chance opportunities.

Burnett led all Hornets players with 18 points, while Jay Allen added 16.

The Spartans will play for the championship at the Doc Green Tournament tomorrow at 4:00 p.m.  Video and live stats links for the game will be posted to the men's basketball schedule page on athletics.case.edu once available.