Case Western Reserve University junior forward Eric Black tipped in a rebound with eight seconds remaining on Friday, to lift the Spartans to a 72-71 win over Trinity University (Texas) in their opening game of the 2016 Stephanie Tubbs Jones Memorial Tournament at Horsburgh Gymnasium in Cleveland, Ohio.
The win is the first of the season for the Spartans, and their first under new Head Coach Todd McGuinness, as the team improved to 1-1 overall. Case Western Reserve will advance to play Brockport State in the tournament's championship game at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, after the Golden Eagles topped the Hampden-Sydney College Tigers 84-71 earlier in the day.
Trinity dropped to 1-1 with the loss, and will face Hampden-Sydney in the consolation game tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.
Trailing by one and coming off a timeout with 13 seconds remaining in the game and four seconds left on the shot clock, freshman Daniel Chambers, who had the hot hand for CWRU throughout the night, launched a jumper that hit off the rim. However, Eric Black battled his way to the front of the hoop, tipping in the rebound for the go-ahead score.
Trinity had one last shot, but a last-second jumper by Danny Rivara went wide of the rim.
Chambers, playing in just his second collegiate game, led all Spartans with 18 points, connecting on seven-of-11 shots from the field. Eric Black added a double-double, the sixth of his career, finishing the game with 10 points and career-highs with 14 rebounds and three blocks. Black also surpassed the 500-point milestone during Friday's game.
Rounding out the Spartans' double-figure scorers was junior guard Colin Zucker with 11 points, while senior guard Javier Alvarez added seven points and career-bests with eight assists and three steals.
Case Western Reserve would lead by as many as eight points in the first half, seeing its lead expand to 24-16 with 8:56 remaining in the period on a pair of free throws by junior forward T.J. Duckett, and to 37-29 with 2:41 remaining on a three-pointer by junior forward David Black.
However, Trinity chipped away at the Spartans lead, cutting it to two, 39-37, on a last-second layup by Aaron Knopp to end the half, and taking the lead on a three by Nik Oakes to start the second. The Tigers would go on to take a seven-point lead, 56-49, with 12:05 left in the second half, before launching on a 19-4 run over the next seven minutes and 34 seconds, keyed by a pair of three-pointers by freshman Sam Hansen, and seven points from Chambers.
The Tigers would not go away, eventually taking a two-point lead with 1:36 left on a layup by Jayden Holden. Alvarez would cut the lead in half, hitting one of two free throws to make it a 71-70 game, and then picked up a key steal to give the Spartans possession back with 35 seconds remaining, and set up the dramatic closing seconds of the game.
Case Western Reserve shot 39.7% from the field in the game, and converted 10 three-point shots after hitting just four in the first game of the season. The Spartans also showed significant improvement at the free throw line on Friday, making 80.0% of their shots from the charity stripe (12-of-15), after shooting just 45.5% on free throws (10-of-22) in their season-opening loss to Baldwin Wallace on Tuesday.
Rivara led all scorers in the game with 19 points, and added a team-best eight rebounds in the loss for Trinity.