After trailing by 10 points at halftime on Saturday, the Case Western Reserve University men's basketball team battled back to pull within a point in the closing minute of the game, but ultimately could not get over the hump, and suffered a 66-64 setback to Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
The loss ended a two-game winning streak for the Spartans, who dropped to 3-5 overall on the season, while the Hornets improved to 3-5 with the victory.
Sophomore guard Monty Khela scored a career-high 19 points to lead all players in Saturday's contest, connecting on five of his 10 three-point attempts and six-of-15 shots overall. Senior forward T.J. Duckett fell a rebound shy of his third-straight double-double, finishing the game with 11 points and nine rebounds.
The Spartans fell in an early hole in the game, falling behind by as many as 16 points in the first half and trailing 23-7 with 11:23 to play in the period. Back-to-back threes by Khela cut the lead back to 10, and a quick five points later in the half by Khela would pull the Spartans back to within six points, 31-25, with 2:44 to play, before Kalamazoo increased its lead back to 10, 40-30, by halftime.
Case Western Reserve held Kalamazoo without a basket for the first three minutes of the second half, and pulled within two points on another three by Khela with 16:29 remaining in the game. The Hornets' lead would stay within single digits for the remainder of the game, and a pair of free throws by Michael Hollis with 5:01 remaining got CWRU back within a point, 57-56. However, Kalamazoo would not relinquish its advantage, and down by two points in the closing seconds, a three pointer by sophomore forward Connor Nally missed the mark, allowing the Hornets to secure the victory.
Case Western Reserve will be off from competition for the next three weeks for finals and winter break, before returning to action on Friday, December 29th for the start of the Bill Sudeck Holiday Tournament at Horsburgh Gymnasium in Cleveland, Ohio. The Spartans will open tournament play against Alfred at 7:00 p.m. on the 29th.