Case Western Reserve University held double-digit leads in each half on Sunday afternoon, but a second-half run by Brandeis University ultimately spelled the demise for the Spartans in an 83-66 loss to the Judges in Waltham, Massachusetts.
The loss dropped Case Western Reserve to 0-3 in the University Athletic Association and to 5-9 overall on the season. Brandeis raised its UAA record to 2-1, while improving to 6-7 overall.
Senior guard Javier Alvarez paced the Spartans on Sunday, recording season-highs with 20 points and five rebounds, while adding a team-leading six assists and connecting on a career-best five three pointers. Junior forward T.J. Duckett tallied his six double-double of the year, and second in a conference game, with 16 points and 11 rebounds on an efficient six-of-eight shooting performance.
The Spartans surged to an early lead in the game behind strong perimeter shooting, connecting on seven-of-12 shots from beyond the arc in the first half. Case Western Reserve opened up a 12-2 lead just three and a half minutes into the game, with both junior guard Colin Zucker and freshman forward Sam Hansen connecting on threes, and Duckett adding six points in the paint during the stretch. Alvarez went on to make all four of his three-point attempts en route to a 14-point first half, and the Spartans would lead by as many as 15 points in the period, after a three-pointer by freshman forward Michael Hollis with 7:40 remaining made it a 30-15 advantage, and a layup by freshman forward Connor Nally extended the lead to 32-17 with 6:39 left. However, the Spartans would score just once more in the period (a three-point shot by Alvarez with 4:42 remaining) and the Judges closed the stanza on a 15-3 run to pull within three, 35-32 by the end of the half.
Case Western Reserve started off strong again in the second half, building an 11 point lead with 14:27 remaining in the game after a layup by Alvarez off an offensive rebound put the Spartans on top 51-40. However, the Spartans went cold from the field from that point forward, and the Judges took advantage, scoring 18-straight points to take the lead, as a part of a larger 35-4 Brandeis run over a 12-minute stretch. After shooting 58.3% from long range in the first half, Case Western Reserve connected on just three-of-20 attempts from beyond the arc in the second, en route to the loss.
The Spartans finished the game shooting 44.6% overall from the field (25-for-56).
Eric D'Aguanno came off the bench to lead Brandeis with 19 points, with Jordan Cooper adding 17 and Tim Reale 11 for the Judges.
The Spartans will return to Cleveland for their first home UAA games of the season next weekend. Case Western Reserve will play host to Emory University on Friday, January 20th at 8:00 p.m. in Horsburgh Gymnasium.