Case Western Reserve University senior forward T.J. Duckett and freshman guard Ignas Masiulionis combined for 30 second half points to lift the Spartans to a 78-73 win over the University of Chicago at Horsburgh Gymnasium in Cleveland, Ohio on Sunday afternoon.
The win put an end to a three-game skid for the Spartans, who improved to 8-8 overall and 2-3 in the University Athletic Association. Chicago dropped to 3-2 in the conference and to 7-9 overall with the loss.
Duckett finished a rebound shy of a double-double and led all Spartans with 22 points on a 10-of-13 shooting performance, scoring 18 points in the second half alone. Masiulionis scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half, shooting seven-of-12 overall and making three of his seven attempts from long range. Freshman guard Michael Volkening added 10 points, and sophomore forward Michael Hollis finished with a team-leading six assists, to go along with six points and five rebounds.
The Spartans had a well-rounded offensive attack during the first half, with seven players getting on the scoreboard, including five with five or more points. CWRU withstood an early three-point barrage from Chicago's Jordan Baum, who knocked down four long range shots in the first five minutes of the game, but a pair of three-pointers by sophomore guard Monty Khela and four points from Duckett helped the Spartans go on a 10-0 run and take a 24-20 lead with 10:06 left in the first half. Case Western Reserve led by as many as eight in the opening period, taking a 35-27 advantage on a three by sophomore guard Sam Hansen with 4:47 to play. However, that would be the Spartans' last made basket of the period, and an 11-0 run to close the half gave Chicago a 41-35 advantage at the break.
A quick three from Chicago's Jake Fenlon to start the second half gave the Maroons their largest lead of the game, but a three from Hansen and six-straight points from Duckett tied the game at 44-44 with 15:42 remaining in the game. A layup by Duckett with 13:44 to play in the second half gave the Spartans their first lead of the stanza, 48-47. The teams would continue to exchange the lead over the next few minutes, before back-to-back threes and a layup by freshman Masiulionis gave the Spartans a 65-59 lead with 5:46 remaining in the game.
Case Western Reserve would lead for the rest of the way, grabbing a six-point lead, 74-68, on a three-pointer by Volkening with 1:42 to play. A jumper by Masiulionis and a pair of free throws by Hansen in the final minute of action helped the Spartans secure the league win.
The Spartans shot a blistering 58.6% (17-of-29) from the floor in the second half of the game alone, and 48.4% (30-of-62) overall in the game.
Chicago was led by Fenlon with 15 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Baum added 15 and Sam Sustacek 11 in the game.
The win was the Spartans first against the Maroons since a 77-58 win at home on January 26, 2014.
Case Western Reserve will hit the road next weekend for games at Brandeis in Waltham, Massachusetts on Friday night and NYU in New York, New York on Sunday afternoon.