Men’s Basketball Prevails 77-75 in OT Thriller at NYU

Men’s Basketball Prevails 77-75 in OT Thriller at NYU

Case Western Reserve University freshman guard Ignas Masiulionis scored five of his season-high 22 points in overtime to help lead the Spartans to a 77-75 win at New York University on Sunday afternoon.

The win was the third-straight for the Spartans, who improved to 10-8 overall, including a 4-3 University Athletic Association record.  NYU dropped to 9-8 on the campaign with a 2-5 UAA mark.  The victory also marked the first for the Spartans on the road against the Violets since the 1999-00 season, and just the second overall at NYU in the program's history.

Masiulionis' 22 points led all scorers on Sunday, as the freshman finished the game shooting eight-of-17 overall, including four-of-eight from long range.  Senior forward T.J. Duckett totaled his eighth double-double of the campaign, finishing with 16 points and 13 rebounds.  Freshman guard Antonio Ionadi added 10 points in the winning effort, including a key basket on the Spartans' final possession of regulation to tie the game and help send it into overtime.

Case Western Reserve knocked down five of their first six shots against NYU to open the game on an 11-2 run.  After the Violets cut the lead back down to five, an 8-0 Spartans' run with threes from Masiulionis and Ionadi and a layup by Duckett helped CWRU take a 13 point lead with 11:27 remaining in the half, 19-6, their largest advantage of the period.  The Spartans continued to lead by double-digits for the majority of the remainder of the half, before a late run by NYU closed the gap to seven point, 36-29, by halftime.

NYU cut the lead down to five points with the opening basket of the second half, but a three-pointer by Masiulionis with 13:53 remaining in the game helped the Spartans extend the lead back to 49-40.  The Violets responded with a 9-2 run of their own to trim the CWRU advantage back to just two points, 51-49, with 10:58 to go.  The game remained close, but the Spartans maintained a lead until the 2:43 mark, when a jumper by NYU's Jule Brown gave the Violets their first lead of the game, 64-63.  On the following possession, Duckett was fouled and made one of two free throws to knot the score again, but NYU answered with back-to-back baskets to go ahead 68-64 with 1:17 left in the game.

Duckett knocked down two more free throws on the Spartans' next possession to cut the Violets' lead back to two points with 55 seconds remaining.  CWRU then fouled NYU's Brown, after missing the front end of the one-and-one, sophomore forward Michael Hollis collected the rebound to give the Spartans the ball back.  With 24 seconds remaining in regulation, Ionadi drove to the hoop and hit a layup to knot the score at 68-68.  NYU had a final opportunity to win the game, but sophomore forward Connor Nally blocked a three-point try by Cameron Moore, and Brown missed a three off the offensive rebound to send the game into overtime.

Tied at 72-72 with 2:18 left in overtime, Masiulionis hit a three-pointer, and freshman guard Michael Volkening knocked down a pair of free throws with 1:50 to play to put CWRU out in from 77-72.  The Violets cut the lead back to four on a free throw by Jimmy Martinelli with 1:34 to go, and trimmed it down to two after a pair of free throws by Dom Cristiano with 7.4 seconds remaining, after Duckett missed two free throw tries of his own.  NYU had one last chance to extend the game after stealing the inbound pass following Cristiano's free throws, but a last-second shot could not find the mark for the Violets.

The Spartans finished the game shooting 43.3% from the floor (29-of-67) and 36.4% (eight-of-22) from behind the three-point line, while outrebounding the Violets 44-35 in the game. 

NYU's Ethan Feldman scored a team-high 16 points, while Moore added 15 for the Violets.

The Spartans will return home next weekend for their annual Throwback Weekend at Adelbert Gymnasium.  CWRU will play their games at the historic gymnasium on Friday, February 2nd at 8:00 p.m. against Brandeis, wearing the uniforms of the Western Reserve Red Cats, and on Sunday, February 4th at 12:00 p.m. against New York University, donning the uniforms of the Case Institute of Technology Rough Riders.  More information on the Throwback Weekend festivities will be posted to throughout the week.