Junior guard Javier Alvarez scored a team-high 19 points off the bench, and senior Matt Clark added 15 for the Spartans, but it was not enough for the Case Western Reserve University men's basketball team, which fell 99-77 to Penn State – Behrend in its first game of the New Year on Saturday afternoon.
With the loss, Case Western Reserve dropped to 6-4 this season, while the Lions improved to 7-1 overall. It was the first road loss of the season for the Spartans.
After a back-and-forth start to the game, Behrend would open an early seven-point lead, 20-13, just under 10 minutes into the first half. The Spartans came back to tie the game at 22-22 on a layup and-one by Alvarez with 8:43 left, and a three-pointer by sophomore David Black on the next possession gave the team a 25-22 lead with 8:03 to play. However, the Lions would go on a 24-4 run over the next five minutes and 12 seconds of action to pull ahead by 17, 46-24. CWRU had a response, scoring the final nine points of the half to cut the lead to single digits, 46-38, heading into halftime.
The Spartans were unable to maintain the momentum in the second half, as the Lions were able to open a 20-point lead, 64-44, with 13:54 to play. CWRU stayed within reach, with senior Spencer Boyd pulling the game back to within 14 points with a three-pointer with 8:43 to play, and after a time out, Clark nailed a three to get back within 11 with eight minutes left in the game. But once again, the Lions would survive the Spartan threat, pulling away late in the game to secure the win.
Case Western Reserve finished the day shooting 50.0% (26-for-52) from the field, including 60.0% (nine-for-15) from long range. Alvarez, who has scored at least 19 points in each of his last three games, was an efficient seven-for-nine from the field, adding six rebounds to also lead the squad. Sophomore Eric Black added five rebounds as and scored 13 points on a six-for-11 shooting performance.
Malquan Pullium led five double-digit scorers for the Lions, tallying 21 points in the game.
The Spartans will return to action on Wednesday, January 6th, when the team travels to play Muskingum University at 7:00 p.m., the team's final non-conference game of the season.