The Case Western Reserve University men's basketball team will return home aiming for a quick bounce back, when the team plays host to third-ranked Washington University (Mo.) at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, January 19th, and the University of Chicago at 12:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 21st.
Friday vs. Washington (Mo.)
Live Stats: http://athletics.case.edu/sports/mbkb/2017-18/boxscores/20180119_xae8.xml
Sunday vs. Chicago
Live Stats: http://athletics.case.edu/sports/mbkb/2017-18/boxscores/20180121_bq9h.xml
The Spartans saw a four-game winning streak come to an end last weekend with a pair of losses on the road to Rochester and 20th-ranked Emory. CWRU now stands at 7-7 on the campaign, including a 1-2 University Athletic Association record and a 4-3 mark in home contests. The Spartans are averaging 78.2 points per game on 42.5% shooting overall and 36.9% shooting from three-point range, while allowing 78.5 points per contester. Senior forward T.J. Duckett has led the team with 13.7 points and 10.9 rebounds per game, while sophomore forward Connor Nally (10.8 ppg) and freshman guard Ignas Masiulionis (9.6 ppg) are other leading scorers for the Spartans this season.
Head Coach Todd McGuinness is in his second season at CWRU. He has a career record of 129-96 (.573 winning percentage), which includes a seven-year stint at Hartwick College, where his teams qualified for the NCAA Championships on four occasions. McGuinness is assisted by Rudy Kirbus, Kelly Blair, Liz Hornberger, Evan Shang and Aleksandar Zivic.
The Bears, who have won four-straight and eight of their last nine games, sit at 12-2 overall, including a 5-1 record away from home, and are tied for first in the UAA with Emory with a 3-0 conference ledger. Washington is coming off a home sweep last weekend, defeating Brandeis 84-56 and NYU 113-75, rising from sixth to third in the latest D3hoops.com Top-25 as a result. The team averages 85.1 points per game on 47.0% shooting overall and 37.6% from behind the three-point line, while allowing 74.7 points per game. Five Bears are averaging double-figure points this year – senior forward Andrew Sanders (18.5), senior guard Jake Knupp (12.3), freshman guard Jack Nolan (11.9), senior guard Kevin Kucera (11.6) and senior forward Matt Highsmith (10.4). Kucera also leads all UAA players and is third in Division III with 7.1 assists per game, while senior center David Schmelter leads the squad with 10.1 rebounds per game.
Washington is coached by Mark Edwards, who is now in his 37th season with the team, and has a career record of 675-291, the fifth-most victories among active Division III coaches. He is assisted by Caleb Lawson, Jason Jabbari and Steve Wilcutt.
The Spartans will be looking for their first victory against Washington since an 89-78 road win against the Bears during the 2014-15 campaign. Last year, the Spartans suffered a pair of close loses to the Bears, falling 88-77 at home, despite trailing by just a point with three minutes to play, and 102-97 on the road. T.J. Duckett averaged 17.5 points and 11.0 rebounds over the two games last year. The series between the two teams dates back to the 1982-82 season, with the Bears holding a 45-5 advantage over CWRU all-time.
Chicago will come into the weekend with a 6-8 overall record, including marks of 0-6 in road games and 2-1 in the UAA), and will play at Carnegie Mellon on Friday night before coming to Cleveland for Sunday's game. The Maroons are coming off back-to-back wins at home against NYU (80-70) and Brandeis (77-67) that put an end to a four-game losing streak for the team. The team is averaging 73.1 points per game on 40.6% shooting overall and 33.3% shooting from long range, while allowing 71.5 points per contest. Chicago's leading scorer is senior guard Jake Fenlon with 17.4 points per game, while senior forward Collin Barthel is averaging 11.9 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, and junior guard Noah Karras has scored 10.5 points per contest.
The Maroons are coached by Mike McGrath, who has spent his entire 19 years as a Head Coach with the team, and has a 276-195 overall record. He is assisted by Jason Petti, Bryan Joel and Rasheed Rosenje.
Case Western Reserve will be looking to reverse a seven-game losing streak to the Maroons that dates back to the 2013-14 campaign, when the Spartans defeated the Chicago 77-58 at home. Last year, the Spartans lost 74-72 at home to Chicago on a last-second three by Jake Fenlon, and 99-73 on the road (after a UAA-record setting 11 made three pointers by Chicago's Noah Karras). T.J. Duckett led the Spartans against the Maroons last year, averaging 19.5 points and 8.5 rebounds during the two contests.
- The Spartans lead all UAA teams with 44.29 rebounds per game (15th in Division III), 620 total rebounds (60th in Division III), 149 three-point field goals made (40th in Division III), 10.6 three-pointers made per game (21st in Division III), and 30.36 defensive rebounds per game (23rd in Division III). CWRU is second in the conference with 13.93 offensive rebounds per game (32nd in Division III) and a +7.9 rebound margin (21st in Division III).
- CWRU is 3-0 when shooting at least 50% on three-point tries this season, and dating back to last season, has won four-straight games when making at least half of their three-point attempts. The Spartans have made 10 or more three-point shots in nine of their 14 games, including three-straight and six of their last seven contests. The Spartans are on pace to make 266 three point shots this season, which would rank second in program history behind the 270 made during the 2015-16 campaign. CWRU has made at least 200 three point shots in each of the last three seasons entering 2017-18, the only three 200-three point field goal campaigns in program history.
- The Spartans have gone 7-4 this season when outrebounding their opponent, including a 6-2 mark when recording 10 or more rebounds than their opponents, and a 2-1 mark when outrebounding the opposition by 20 or more.
- CWRU's Connor Nally matched a program record with seven three-pointers made during the Spartans' loss to Emory on Sunday. Nally equaled the program record originally set by former Spartan Dane McLoughlin, also against Emory, on February 15, 2013. Over the two games last weekend, Nally went 10-of-16 from the field, all from three-point range.
- Nally leads all qualifying UAA players and is 23rd among Division III players this year with a 47.6% mark from three-point range. His 45.5% mark for his career from long range is the best in program history.
- T.J. Duckett's 59.2 field goal percentage is the best among qualifying UAA players and 49th among Division III players this season. It is on pace for the fourth-best mark in program history. His career 56.2% mark from the floor ranks as the 26th-best among qualifying active NCAA Division III players and is the fourth-best in program history.
- Last weekend, Duckett became the 13th player in program history with over 500 career rebounds. His 519 career rebounds entering the weekend rank as the 10th-most ever by a Spartan player, and are just five behind McLoughlin for ninth in school history. He is 71st among active DIII players and 251st among active players across all three NCAA divisions in rebounds.
- This season, Duckett leads the UAA with 10.9 rebounds per game (13th in DIII), 3.64 offensive rebounds per game (25th in DIII) and 7.29 defensive rebounds per game (33rd in DIII). He is on pace for a program-record 273 rebounds.
- Duckett is also 39th among active Division III players with 18 career double-doubles. His 10 points and 15 rebounds against Emory on Sunday gave him his seventh double-double this season, which leads all UAA players and is 26th among Division III players this year.
- Sophomore forward Michael Hollis leads all CWRU players this season with 2.8 assists and 1.1 steals per game, and is second on the squad with 6.2 rebounds and 0.7 blocks per contest.
- First-year players have accounted for 525 of the team's 1095 points (47.9%). Leading first-year scorers include freshmen guards Ignas Masiulionis (9.6 ppg) and Antonio Ionadi (8.9 ppg) and sophomore transfer guard Monty Khela (7.5 ppg). Freshman William FitzPatrick scored a career-high 11 points in eight minutes off the bench against Rochester last Friday.
- Washington will be the second nationally-ranked opponent that the Spartans will face this season, following last Sunday's game against then-20th ranked Emory. CWRU won their last bested a top-25 team last year, defeating then sixth-ranked Rochester 76-72 on the road on February 19, 2017. The Spartans have three additional games this season scheduled against teams that appear in this week's D3hoops.com Top-25 (Feb. 16 against Washington, Feb. 9 against #25 Rochester and Feb. 11 against #17 Emory).