Case Western Reserve University senior Javier Alvarez led six Spartans in double figures on Friday night, but the Spartans' bid for an overtime road win at Emory University came up just short in a 99-92 loss to the Eagles in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Spartans led by as many as nine in the second half and four in overtime, but were unable to hold on for the victory, falling to 7-16 overall and 2-10 in University Athletic Association play. Emory raised its record to 16-7 with a 7-5 UAA ledger.
Alvarez led a Spartan bench that outscored Emory's 54-29 in the game, as the senior guard finished with 19 points and shot seven-of-17 from the floor, adding five assists and four rebounds. Junior forward T.J. Duckett collected his 10th double-double of the season, coming off the bench to register 12 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman forward Sam Hansen came off the bench as well to match his career scoring high, tallying 18 points for the second-straight game and shooting five-of-11 from long range. Freshmen forward Connor Nally added 14 points, freshman guard Darius Inzar scored 11, and freshmen forward Michael Hollis added 10, with each starting their second-straight game for CWRU.
Back-to-back threes early in the first half from Nally gave the Spartans an early 6-3 lead, but the Eagles quickly regained the advantage and would lead by as many as five in the period, 23-18 with 9:06 to play. However, the Spartans responded, regaining the lead by the 7:25 mark when a three by junior forward David Black put the team up 25-24. Case Western Reserve would never trail again in the period, and a 12-3 run, capped off by Hansen's third three of the first half, put the Spartans on top by 10, 42-32, with 2:54 to play in the period. A layup off an offensive rebound with 14 seconds remaining by Duckett gave the Spartans their largest lead of the half, 46-35, before layup with time expiring in the first stanza by Emory's Whit Rapp cut CWRU's lead to nine heading into the break, 46-37.
The 46 points scored by the Spartans in the opening 20 minutes matched the most scored by the team this season in the first half of a game. Alvarez and Hansen paced the Spartans with 11 points each.
Emory started the second half on an 8-0 run, pulling back within a point, but the Spartans maintained a lead over the Eagles until the 15:06 mark, when an Adam Gigax three gave Emory its first lead since the 7:25 mark in the first half. The lead would change hands 10 times over the next six minutes, before a layup by Alvarez at the 9:13 mark started a 12-2 Spartan run that gave CWRU a nine-point lead, 78-69, with 7:25 left after Hansen converted a four-point play after being fouled on a made three point shot. The Spartans maintained a nine-point lead with 4:39 to go, but could not hit a field goal for the final 5:19 of regulation, and Emory closed the period on a 10-1 run. The Eagles took an 85-84 lead on a pair of free throws with 45.8 seconds left, but Alvarez was fouled with 31.4 left in regulation, sending the senior to the line for a pair of shots.
Alvarez made his first free throw, but missed the second. However, the rebound ricocheted off an Emory player's hands, giving the Spartans possession back, but on the ensuing possession, CWRU could not get a shot off before the 30-second clock expired, sending the game into overtime, tied at 85-85.
The Spartans scored the first four points of overtime, taking an 89-85 lead with 3:19 remaining in the extra period. Emory scored the next five, regaining a one-point lead with 1:51 to go, before Hansen connected on his fifth-three of the game, putting CWRU back in front 92-90 with 1:38 left. However, Emory's Rapp hit a three-pointer and followed with a pair of free throws to give the Eagles back the lead for good in the game, as the home team went on for the seven point win.
Senior Jim Gordon led Emory with 30 points and nine rebounds on Friday, while junior Adam Gigax added 23 points, 20 of which came in the second half of the game.
The Spartans will play their final road game of the season on Sunday, when the team takes on the sixth-ranked University of Rochester. Tip-off for Sunday's game in Rochester, New York, is scheduled for 12:00 p.m.