Spartans’ Rally Falls Short against #8 Washington

Spartans’ Rally Falls Short against #8 Washington

Case Western Reserve University junior forward T.J. Duckett scored 21 points and collected 14 rebounds, and freshman forward Sam Hansen matched his career high with 17 points, as the Spartans threatened the eighth-ranked Washington University (Mo.) Bears, but ultimately fell short, 88-77, at Adelbert Gymnasium on Sunday afternoon.

Freshman forward Connor Nally added 14 points and senior guard Javier Alvarez finished the game with 10 points and seven assists for the Spartans, who dropped to 0-7 in the UAA and to 5-13 overall.  Washington, led by junior forward Andrew Sanders' 30 points and nine rebounds, improved to 15-3 overall with a 7-0 UAA mark.

Washington got off to the early start on Sunday, jumping out to a 16-point advantage, 27-11, with 12:39 remaining in the first. The Spartans cut the lead back to nine points following a three-point shot by junior guard Colin Zucker with 9:59 to play in the half, but Washington built its lead back to 16, 40-24, with 6:31 remaining.  However, the Spartans finished the half strong, ending the period on a 16-4 run, led by eight points during the stretch by Nally, and pulled within four by halftime, 44-40.

The Spartans momentum carried into the second period, with a layup by Hansen and a three by Nally put the Spartans ahead for the first time in the game, 45-44, with 18:15 to play.  Case Western Reserve grabbed a three-point lead with 17:50 left, what would prove to be their largest of the game.  The Bears regained the advantage and led by as many as eight, 69-61, with 7:05 remaining.  The Spartans would not go away easily, going on a 14-4 run over the next three minutes, and regaining a two-point lead, 75-73 with 3:59 to play on an and-one by Duckett.  However, the Bears' Kevin Kucera answered with a three-pointer to give Washington the lead back, and the Spartans would be unable to retake the advantage for the remainder of the game, with the Bears converting all eight of their free throw attempts over the final minute of the game.

The Spartans made 12-of-30 shots from behind the three-point arc in the game, including a five-of-nine performance from Hansen and a four-of-six long-range effort from Nally, career-bests for each. Case Western Reserve shot 42.9% from the floor overall during the game.

Sunday's game marked the end of a four-game home stand for the Spartans, who will now head on the road for their next two games.  Case Western Reserve will be back in action for a 9:00 p.m. ET tipoff on Friday, February 3rd at the University of Chicago.