Late Free Throws Push Spartans Past Judges, 74-72

Late Free Throws Push Spartans Past Judges, 74-72

Case Western Reserve University sophomore Eric Black hit a pair of free throws with 5.1 seconds left on Friday night at Adelbert Gymnasium to lift the Spartans past Brandeis University, 74-72, to open Throwback Weekend.

With the win, the Spartans completed a season sweep of the Judges, improving to 10-9 overall with a 3-5 mark in University Athletic Association play.  Brandeis fell to 9-10 on the year with a 3-5 conference record.

Junior guard Javier Alvarez scored ten of his team-best 17 points in the second half on six-of-nine shooting from the field.  Despite being limited in the second half by foul trouble, senior Matt Clark added 14 points, and Eric Black finished the game with 13 and six rebounds.

The Spartans, wearing the red uniforms of the former Western Reserve University, overcame an early deficit on Friday, as the Judges jumped out to a 10-2 lead with 16:02 remaining, before a 9-0 CWRU run, capped off by a layup and a free throw by Eric Black at the 12:49 mark that gave the Spartans an 11-10 edge.  After Brandeis regained the lead, a late run by the Spartans gave them the advantage heading into the break.  Clark tied the game on a layup with 3:27 left in the half, and gave the team a lead with a pair of free throws on the next possession.  A layup by Alvarez with 43 seconds left pushed the Spartans lead to three, 33-30, before Brandeis' Robinson Vilmont knocked down a layup at the buzzer to bring the Judges back within a point at the break.

The second half was played close throughout, with neither team taking more than a four-point lead during the final 20 minutes of action.  With 3:21 remaining in the game, a pair of free throws by Clark put the Spartans on top by four, 70-66, before a pair of layups by John Powell tied the game at 70-70 with 1:59 left.  With just over a minute left, sophomore Colin Zucker stole the ball from Powell, leading to a foul against Alvarez, who successfully converted both attempts, before Jordan Cooper tied the game against on a jumper with 34 seconds remaining.

With time running down on the clock, Eric Black was fouled on a layup attempt, knocking down the pair of resulting free throws to give the Spartans a 74-72 lead with 5.1 seconds remaining.  Brandeis had one last shot, but a jumper by Vilmont missed just before the final buzzer.

The Spartans shot 43.3% from the field during the game, including 48.4% (15-for-31) in the second half of the game. 

Cooper led all Brandeis players with 18 points, and Powell scored 15 with 10 for the double-double.

Case Western Reserve will continue to celebrate Throwback Weekend on Sunday, February 7th, when the Spartans don the uniforms of the Case Institute of Technology, as they play host to UAA-opponent New York University at 12:00 p.m. inside Adelbert Gymnasium.