2015-16 CWRU Men’s Basketball Season Recap

2015-16 CWRU Men’s Basketball Season Recap

The 2015-16 Case Western Reserve University men's basketball team featured the top-scoring offense in the University Athletic Association during the campaign, as the Spartans went on to win 12 games during the season.

The Spartans, who ended the season with a 12-13 overall record and a 5-9 mark in UAA contests, averaged 86.4 points per game during the season to lead all conference teams and finish 25th among all NCAA Division III squads.  A great deal of CWRU's offensive success came from its three-point game, as the team finished ninth among DIII teams with 10.8 three-point field goals per game, 20th with 270 total three-point field goals made, and 66th with a 37.1% mark from three-point range. 

Case Western Reserve also led all UAA teams with 8.4 steals per game, the 57th-most by a DIII team during the season, and 14.3 offensive rebounds per game, the 30th-most in Division III in 2015-16.

The Spartans were paced during the season by senior guard Matt Clark, who turned in a career year in 2015-16.  Clark averaged 17.3 points per game during the season, the third-most by a UAA player during the campaign, and led all conference players with 19.1 points per game in UAA games, en route to a berth on the All-UAA First Team.  He was also named to the NABC All-Great Lakes Region Second Team and the D3hoops.com All-Great Lakes Region Third Team following the season, and ended the campaign ranked 51st in Division III and first in the UAA with 2.12 steals per game.

Also during the season, senior guard Jimmy Holman made team history by setting a new career record for assists by a Spartan player.  Holman tied and broke the record on January 22nd at the University of Rochester, collecting five assists in the game to surpass former Spartan Jim Fox's (1993-97) record of 403 over his career.  He finished his career at CWRU with 446 assists, the seventh-most among active DIII players at the time.

Clark and Holman  (12.7 points per game) were two of the five Spartans who averaged double-digit point totals during the season, along with sophomore guard Colin Zucker (10.8 points per game), junior guard Javier Alvarez (10.8 points per game), and sophomore forward David Black (10.6 points per game).  Sophomore forward Eric Black added 9.6 points per game and a team-high 6.2 rebounds per game as well.

Other major contributors for the Spartans during the year included sophomore forward T.J. Duckett, who averaged 4.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per game during the year and 6.8 points and 9.3 rebounds over the team's final four games, and senior forward Spencer Boyd, who served as a team captain during the year, while averaging 4.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game.  Sophomore guard Jake Lavis joined the team mid-season to make an immediate impact with 4.3 points per game off the bench, with freshman guard Michael White and junior forward Mac Hartman also seeing significant time on the court in 2015-16.

The Spartans opened their season with four wins in their first five games, including a second-place finish at the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Memorial Tournament, during which Holman received a berth on the all-tournament team.  CWRU went on to sweep both games at the Greg Richards Memorial Classic at Allegheny College, with Holman again claiming all-tournament honors.

After entering winter break with a 4-3 overall record, the Spartans unveiled a new high-paced offense for the second half of the season that saw immediate positive results.  In their first game back from break, the Spartans topped Kalamazoo College 118-100 at the Bill Sudeck Holiday Tournament, the second-most points scored in a game in the program's history.  CWRU went on to defeat Otterbein the next day to win the tournament, as Alvarez was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player, and was joined by Clark on the all-tournament team.

Finishing the non-conference season with a 7-4 record, Case Western Reserve opened UAA play with a 94-81 win over Carnegie Mellon at home on January 9th, behind a career-high 24-point effort off the bench from Alvarez, and 23 points from Clark.  However, the Spartans struggled over their next 11 games, going just 2-9 during the stretch with both wins coming against Brandeis University, as the Spartans swept the season series with the Judges.

CWRU would finish its season strong, winning each of its final two games of the season, including an 88-78 win over Emory (the eventual UAA Champions), behind a record-setting performance from Clark.  The guard tied a school record with seven three-pointers made (on 10 attempts) and scored a career-high 33 points, becoming the first Spartan to score at least 30 points in a game in over two years.  He was named the UAA Athlete of the Week and to the D3hoops.com Team of the Week following the outstanding effort.

The Spartans capped off their season with a win at Carnegie Mellon, overcoming a 12-point deficit with just under 13 minutes left in the game to pick up the win.  Clark scored 27 points in the game (including 23 in the second half alone), and ended his season with three-straight efforts of at least 27 points.
 
The Spartans earned the following honors during the 2015-16 season:

 

NABC All-Great Lakes Region

Matt Clark

St. Louis, Mo. / St. Louis University High

Second Team

 

D3hoops.com All-Great Lakes Region

Matt Clark

St. Louis, Mo. / St. Louis University High

Third Team

 

All-University Athletic Association Team

Matt Clark

St. Louis, Mo. / St. Louis University High

First Team

Jimmy Holman

Ann Arbor, Mich. / Pioneer

Honorable Mention

 

Stephanie Tubbs Jones Memorial All-Tournament Team

Jimmy Holman

Ann Arbor, Mich. / Pioneer

 

Greg Richards Memorial Classic All-Tournament Team

Jimmy Holman

Ann Arbor, Mich. / Pioneer

 

Bill Sudeck Holiday All-Tournament Team

Javier Alvarez

Coral Gables, Fla. / Belen Jesuit Preparatory

Most Valuable Player

Matt Clark

St. Louis, Mo. / St. Louis University High

 

D3hoops.com Team of the Week

Matt Clark

St. Louis, Mo. / St. Louis University High

Feb. 23

 

UAA Athlete of the Week

Matt Clark

St. Louis, Mo. / St. Louis University High

Feb. 23 



The following were the Spartans statistical leaders during the season:

 

Points per game

Matt Clark

17.3

Assists per game

Jimmy Holman

3.8

Rebounds per game

Eric Black

6.2

Steals per game

Matt Clark

2.1

Blocks per game

David Black

1.1