Black’s Career-High 26 Points Lead Spartans to 106-101 OT Win at Muskingum

Black’s Career-High 26 Points Lead Spartans to 106-101 OT Win at Muskingum

Sophomore forward David Black led six double-digit scorers for Case Western Reserve University with a career-high 26 points, as the Spartans battled their way to a thrilling 106-101 overtime win at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio on Wednesday night.

With the win, Case Western Reserve will head into the start of conference play this weekend with an overall record of 7-4, and the winner of three of its last four games.  The Fighting Muskies dropped to 3-9 with the loss, the team's seventh-straight setback.

Black shot 10-for-16 from the field, and matched his career-high with five three-pointers made on nine attempts.  He added a career-high four blocks on the day, and collected six rebounds.

Adding to the career day for David Black was junior guard Javier Alvarez, who notched his fourth-straight double-digit scoring output, finishing the game with 15 points on a six-for-eight shooting performance.  Senior guard Matt Clark led all Spartans with seven rebounds, four steals, and a career-high seven assists, while also scoring 11 in the game.  Senior guard Jimmy Holman and sophomore forward Eric Black both finished the game with 15 points apiece, while sophomore guard Colin Zucker scored 14 points for the day.

The combined effort for the Spartans was enough to withstand a tremendous performance from Muskingum's Joshua Keyes, who scored 36 points and collected 21 rebounds on Wednesday night to lead the Muskies.

After falling behind by seven, 18-11, with 13:27 left in the first half, the Spartans took the lead behind a 17-4 run that lasted the next 3:15, and was keyed by five points each by Clark and Zucker, giving CWRU a 28-22 advantage with 10:08 remaining.  Muskingum would tie the game at 31-31, but the Spartans regained the lead, and back-to-back threes from Zucker and David Black, and a layup by Alvarez gave the team its largest lead of the first half, 42-33, with 4:43 left in the frame.  CWRU equaled the nine-point lead on a three-pointer by Holman to end the half, putting the score at 49-40 heading into the break.

David Black connected on seven of his 10 shots during the first half, including three three-point attempts, as his 18 points during the first 20 minutes were just one shy of his career high for a game entering the contest.  Zucker contributed with 12 points in the first half, and Clark added six first half assists, surpassing his previous single-game career high of four.

As a team, the Spartans connected on nine first half three point shots, shooting 42.9% from long range and 47.4% overall from the field, while forcing 11 turnovers, including nine steals.

A layup by Eric to open the second half gave the Spartans an 11-point lead, what would prove to be their largest of the game.  Muskingum chipped away at the advantage over the seven minutes, eventually knotting the score at 58 with 12:44 to play, before Eric Black was fouled on a made layup, converting the resulting free throw to give CWRU a three-point lead.  The next five minutes of play would see an additional six lead changes and a pair of ties, before Alvarez hit a three at the 7:01 mark, and followed it with a steal and a layup to put CWRU on top 74-70.

The Spartans would keep their lead into the waning minutes of regulation, and a Holman three pointer with 2:02 remaining put the Spartans up by six, 89-83.  However, Muskingum's Jalen Paige hit a three of his own with 1:19 remaining to cut the CWRU lead back to three, and after a turnover, Rickey Wilson knocked down a long-range shot to even the score at 89-89 with 43 seconds remaining.  David Black gave the Spartans the lead back with a layup with just 17 seconds left, but Joshua Keyes hit a jumper with a second left on the clock to send the game to overtime, tied at 91 apiece.

Trailing by two points with 2:33 left in overtime, David Black knocked down a three point shot to give the Spartans a 98-96 lead, and Eric Black followed with a layup to push the lead to four.  Paige hit a long-range shot of his own to cut the lead back to a point, 100-99, with 1:32 to play.  The teams exchanged baskets to keep the game within a point, before a dunk by Eric Black with 10 seconds left made it a three-point game again, 104-101.  Alvarez would steal the ball on the next possession, and Holman connected on a pair of free throws after he was fouled to secure the overtime win for Case Western Reserve.

CWRU forced 20 Muskingum turnovers during the game (including a season-high 15 steals), turning the Muskies' errors into 23 points.  The Spartans shot 48.8% from the field overall on Wednesday, and converted 14-of-31 three-point attempts.  The 106 points marked the second time this season the team has broken the century mark in a game.

The Spartans will now turn their attention to their University Athletic Association schedule, which will comprise the team's final 14 games of the year.  Case Western Reserve will open conference play at home on Saturday, January 9th at 5:00 p.m. against Carnegie Mellon University.