CWRU Men’s Basketball Comes From Behind to Top Alfred 91-85

CWRU Men’s Basketball Comes From Behind to Top Alfred 91-85

Behind 22 points and nine rebounds from senior forward T.J. Duckett and a career-high 21 points and seven assists from freshman guard Michael Volkening, the Case Western Reserve University men's basketball team overcome an early 15 point deficit to defeat Alfred University 91-85 in the opening round of the 2017 Bill Sudeck Holiday Tournament at Horsburgh Gymnasium in Cleveland, Ohio on Friday night.

The win was the Spartans' third in their last four games, as the team improved to 4-5 overall on the campaign, while Alfred dropped to 6-2 with the loss.  Case Western Reserve will advance to the tournament's championship game on Saturday against Wells College, which defeated Washington and Jefferson 94-55 earlier in the day on Friday to improve to 2-7 on the year.

Case Western Reserve recorded season highs in shooting, notching marks of 52.7% (29-of-55) overall, 50.0% (12-of-24) on three-point attempts, and 84.0% (21-of-25) from the free throw line.

Duckett led all players in the game with 22 points on seven-of-nine shooting from the floor and eight-of-nine from the free throw line, while falling a rebound short of his fifth double-double of the year.  Volkening failed to miss a shot from the floor on Friday, connecting on all six of his field goal attempts, including three from long range.  Sophomores Michael Hollis and Sam Hansen added 12 and 10 points, respectively, to round out the Spartans' double-figure scorers in the game.

Case Western Reserve did most of its damage in the first half with the long-range shot, making eight of their 16 three point attempts during the opening 20 minutes.  After falling behind 16-3 by the 14:07 mark, three three-pointers by sophomore forward Connor Nally and a fourth by freshman guard Ignas Masiulionis cut the lead down to four, 19-15, with 11:16 left in the half.  Alfred would build their advantage back to 15 with 7:16 remaining in the first, but a late Spartan run pulled CWRU back to within a point, 44-43, with 20 seconds remaining after a pair of free throws by Duckett.  A steal and a three at the buzzer by the Saxons' Scott Stopera gave Alfred a 47-43 lead at halftime.

The Spartans shot 45.2% (14-of-31) overall in the first half, and were led by nine points apiece from Volkening and Nally, and eight from Duckett.

Alfred led by as many as eight points in the second half, and continued to hold an advantage until the 7:37 mark, when freshman forward Brian Dompke gave the Spartans their first lead of the game on a layup following an offensive rebound.  The teams would exchange leads over the next few minutes of play, until Volkening put the Spartans ahead for good with a pair of free throws with 3:55 remaining in the game that made the score 81-79.  A pair of dunks by Duckett with 1:46 and 48 seconds remaining helped Case Western Reserve cement its lead, and the Spartans would make six of nine free throw attempts over the final two minutes to help secure the victory, including one by Hansen with five seconds to go that gave CWRU a six-point lead, its largest of the contest.

Alfred was led by Stopera, who finished the game with 21 points, while Dom LaMorta added 19 in the contest.

Tip-off of the Bill Sudeck Holiday Tournament Championship game between the Spartans and the Express is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, and will be preceded by the consolation game between Washington and Jefferson and Alfred at 2:00 p.m.