The Case Western Reserve University men's basketball team battled back from a second-half deficit of 15 points to take a late lead, but the Spartans' rally ultimately fell short in an 86-82 loss to Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday afternoon.
Senior guard Matt Clark led the Spartans with 22 points, and converted a key and-one play with 43 seconds left in the game that gave the squad an 82-81 lead. However, Jonathan Terry knocked down a three-pointer for Emory with 26 seconds remaining that gave Emory the lead back, and a missed three by Clark with six seconds remaining, followed by a pair of made free throws for the Eagles, secured the victory for the home team.
Clark also led all players on Sunday with five assists and four steals, while adding five rebounds and shooting an efficient eight-for-14 from the field. Sophomore forward David Black and junior guard Javier Alvarez each scored 15, and sophomore forward Eric Black notched his second double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
The Spartans fell to 8-8 on the campaign with the loss, including a 1-4 record in University Athletic Association play, while Emory raised its record to 11-5 overall with a 4-1 UAA mark.
The Spartans and Eagles battled back and forth early in the game on Sunday, with the lead changing hands eight times in the first 10 minutes of play. A three-pointer by senior guard Jimmy Holman with 10:35 to play in the period gave the Spartans a one point lead, 17-16, but the Eagles took control, opening a six-point lead, 34-28, with two minutes left in the first. CWRU rallied late in the half, pulling to within two points on an Alvarez three-point shot with 32 seconds remaining that cut the lead to 38-36, and closed the half down four, 40-36.
Emory's lead ballooned to nine points, 48-39, with 16:12 to play in the game, and after a pair of free throws by Jake Lavis, the Eagles went on an 8-0 run to take a 15-point advantage over the Spartans with 14:40 to play, 56-41. However, CWRU got back into the game, forcing five Emory turnovers during a three-and-a-half minute stretch to spur a 16-5 run, capped off by a steal from Holman and a three-pointer by Alvarez that pulled the Spartans back within two points, 65-63, with 8:39 to play. A 9-0 run on three-straight threes by the Eagles pushed their lead back to 11 with 7:12 remaining in the game.
Trailing by nine with 5:22 left in the contest, the Spartans' offense went to work, going on a 14-3 run to eventually take their first lead since the 14:46 mark in the first half. Down two with 42 seconds remaining, sophomore guard Colin Zucker stole an inbound pass, and Clark was fouled while hitting a layup, converting the free throw to push the Spartans in front, before Emory would regain the lead and hold on for the victory.
Terry finished with a game-high 24 points for Emory, with Adam Gigax contributing 21, and Trawick adding 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The Spartans will continue their four-game conference road swing next weekend, when the team travels to Brandeis University for an 8:00 p.m. meeting with the Judges on Friday, January 29th.