The Case Western Reserve University men's basketball team carried a lead into halftime on Sunday afternoon against the University of Chicago, but a strong second half propelled the 16th-ranked Maroons past the Spartans, en route to a 112-100 win at Horsburgh Gymnasium.
The win was the 11th-straight for the Maroons, who moved into sole possession of first place in the University Athletic Association with a 3-0 conference record, and a 12-2 overall mark. The Spartans fell to 8-6 overall and to 1-2 in UAA action this season.
Case Western Reserve senior Jimmy Holman assisted on 10 baskets on Sunday to become just the second player in program history with 400 career assists. He is just two assists shy of the program's all-time record of 403, currently held by former Spartan Jim Fox (1993-97).
Holman picked up his first double-double of the year in the game, scoring 16 points, including four three pointers. Junior guard Javier Alvarez led all CWRU scorers with 20 points in the game, with sophomore forward David Black adding 17 and sophomore Colin Zucker 16. Rounding out the Spartans' double-digit scorers were sophomore forward Eric Black and senior guard Matt Clark with 12 points apiece. Eric Black added a team-high nine rebounds during the game.
David Black scored 14 of his 17 points in the first half, shooting five-for-seven from the field and connecting on four three pointers to pace the Spartans to a three point lead. Alvarez and Zucker each added 10 points during the frame, and Holman connected on three attempts from long range for nine points, while accumulating seven first half assists.
The Spartans utilized the three-point shot in the first half, connecting on 11 of 20 attempts from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes alone. After falling behind by six within the first three minutes of the game, CWRU turned a pair of steals by Alvarez and Clark into four points to take an 18-16 lead with 13:49 to play in the period. The rest of the first half would remain close, with the lead changing hands on 10 different occasions. The Spartans would build their lead to as large as five points, the latest with 1:12 remaining following a three-pointer by David Black, and took a 54-51 lead into halftime.
The Spartans forced 11 Chicago turnovers during the first half, holding an 18-3 edge in points off turnovers by the end of the period.
Chicago quickly evened the score at 54-54 after Jordan Smith converted an and-one on their second possession of the half. The Spartans responded with a 7-1 run, capped off by a layup from Alvarez with 16:52 to play that have the team its largest lead of the game, 61-55.
However, Chicago took control of the game from that point, knotting the score at 65 and going on to take an 11-point edge at the 10:01 mark, 84-73. The Spartans would cut the lead back to nine after a layup by sophomore forward T.J. Duckett with 9:34 remaining, but an 8-0 run by the Maroons pushed their lead to 17 with 6:45 left. Chicago would lead by as many as 18 points in the game, and despite a late run by the Spartans that cut the lead down to 10 with 31 seconds left, CWRU would not get back to within single digits of the Maroons for the remainder of the contest.
Jordan Smith led Chicago with 26 points to go along with seven rebounds, while Nate Brooks added a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds.
Sunday's game marked the third time this season that the Spartans have reached the 100-point mark in a game, the most in a single season in the program's history.
Case Western Reserve will begin a four-game road stretch next weekend, starting at the University of Rochester at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, January 22nd.