The Case Western Reserve University Spartans picked up a win in their final non-conference game of the season, using a strong start to the second half to defeat Oberlin College 63-60 in Oberlin, Ohio on Wednesday evening.
The win was the third-straight for the Spartans, who moved above .500 for the first time this season, as the team improved to 6-5 overall. Oberlin dropped to 6-6 with the loss.
Senior forward T.J. Duckett recorded his second-straight double-double and sixth overall through 11 games this season, shooting nine-of-14 from the floor for a team-high 20 points with 16 rebounds. Freshman guard Ignas Masiulionis and sophomore guard Sam Hansen scored 11 points each in the contest.
The Spartans and the Yeomen played a back-and-forth first half. After falling behind by five points early, back-to-back threes by Masiulionis helped the Spartans grab a 15-13 lead with 11:06 to play in the period. The teams continued to play close, before a quick 6-0 run by Oberlin gave the Yeomen a 30-25 lead with 3:31 to play. Oberlin would lead by as many as six late in the period, but a three pointer by Hansen as time expired in the half cut the lead down to three points, 35-32, heading into the break.
Duckett led the Spartans in the first half with 10 points and eight rebounds, with Masiulionis adding eight points and sophomore forward Connor Nally scoring seven. The Spartans shot 34.3% overall during the opening period, including five-of-15 on three-point tries, and outscored the Yeomen 8-0 on second chance opportunities.
The Spartans would break away in the second half, opening the frame on a 21-4 run behind six points each from Duckett, Hansen and freshman guard Antonio Ionadi, jumping out in front by 14, 53-39, with 10:09 remaining in the game. Oberlin would hit just one shot from the floor in the first 10 minutes of the period, but would eventually get back in the game, pulling within a point on a pair of free throws with 1:22 to go, 59-58. However, a turn-around jumper by sophomore forward Michael Hollis put the Spartans ahead 61-58 with 16.6 seconds to play. The teams would miss a combined four free throws on the front ends of one-and-one opportunities in the final 12 seconds, but a after a pair of free throws by Oberlin's Joshua Friedkin with 5.1 seconds to play, Hansen knocked down a pair of his own with 3.9 seconds remaining to extend the lead to 63-60. The Yeomen could not get off a last second shot, as the Spartans secured the win.
Case Western Reserve outrebounded Oberlin 44-34 on Wednesday, and held a 28-22 advantage in points in the pain. The Spartans' three-game winning streak is the team's longest since early in the 2015-16 campaign.
Christian Fioretti finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds to lead Oberlin.
With their non-conference slate completed, the Spartans will now turn their attention towards their 14-game University Athletic Association schedule. The Spartans will open conference play at home on Saturday, January 6th against Carnegie Mellon University at 4:00 p.m. at Horsburgh Gymnasium in Cleveland, Ohio.