Case Western Reserve University sophomore forward Connor Nally recorded his first double-double of the season, registering a career-high 29 points and 10 rebounds, but it was not enough for the Spartans, who fell to the Greenville University Panthers 120-111 in the Consolation Game of the 2017 Stephanie Tubbs Jones Memorial Tournament at Horsburgh Gymnasium on Saturday.
The Spartans now stand at 0-2 on the year, while Greenville improved to 1-2.
Freshman guard Antonio Ionadi was named to the All-Tournament Team, averaging 20 points and three rebounds over the two games.
The Spartans trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half, when Greenville jumped out to an early edge, and took a 39-27 advantage on a three-pointer by Swade Edwards. However, a 24-12 run, capped off by an Ionadi layup, evened the score at 51-51 with 2:09 remaining in the half. The two teams would battle back-and-forth over the remainder of the half, tying the score on four occasions, before the Panthers jutted out to a 58-55 lead with 19 seconds remaining. Freshman forward Kai Fletcher cut the lead down to two after splitting a pair of free throws and Greenville would go into the break with a 58-56 lead.
CWRU came out firing in the second half, going on a 13-6 run that was capped off by a three-pointer from senior guard Colin Zucker with 17:07 remaining. The Spartans continued to increase their lead and jumped out to a 14-point lead after a three-pointer from Ionadi at the 12:01 mark of the second half. However, the Panthers countered with a run of their own to retake the lead at 94-91 with 7:02 remaining in regulation. CWRU would be unable to pull back within three for the remainder of the game, and Greenville's lead would swell to as many as 11 points in the final seven minutes of play.
Ionadi and freshman guard Ignas Masiulionis were the Spartans' other double-figure scorers on Saturday with 20 and 19, respectively. Fletcher also added nine points and nine rebounds.
Barry Nixon finished the game with a team-best 22 points and 11 rebounds. Sonti Grady added 20 points on Saturday, while Rakim Murphy scored 15 points and was selected to the All-Tournament Team for Greenville. Other All-Tournament Team selections included Tyler Michael of Frostburg State University and Jordan Roberson of Montclair State University. Jarrett Bogus of Montclair was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.
The Spartans will be back in action on Tuesday, November 21st, when the team welcomes Denison University to Horsburgh Gymnasium. The game is slated for a 7:00 p.m. start.