A strong second half propelled the Case Western Reserve University men's basketball team to their fifth-consecutive University Athletic Association victory on Sunday afternoon, as the Spartans defeated New York University 73-57 at Adelbert Gymnasium as a part of Throwback Weekend.
Wearing the throwback uniforms of the Case Institute of Technology during Sunday's win, the Spartans improved to 12-8 overall and to 6-3 in UAA play. CWRU swept its season series with the Violets, who fell to 10-9 overall and 3-6 in league games with the loss.
The five-game conference winning streak for the Spartans is the longest in the program's history in UAA play. In addition, it marked just the fifth time in team history that CWRU has won six or more games in UAA competition, and is just one UAA win away from the program-best seven recorded during the 1999-00 campaign with five UAA games left on the schedule.
Senior forward T.J. Duckett recorded his ninth double-double of the season and his third of the UAA campaign, leading all Spartans with 18 points on an eight-of-11 shooting effort, and adding 14 rebounds in the game. Sophomore guard Monty Khela came off the bench to score 12 of his 14 points in the second half alone, and freshman guard Michael Volkening added 12 points during Sunday's game. Sophomore forward Michael Hollis contributed eight points and 10 rebounds, while leading all Spartan players with five assists, two blocks and two steals.
The Spartans led for the entirety of Sunday's game, after Duckett opened the contest with layups in each of the team's first two possessions of the game to spur the squad to a 4-0 lead. CWRU led by as many as eight points during the half, taking a 16-8 advantage on a jumper by Duckett with 12:57 to go, and an 18-10 lead with 9:25 remaining on a layup from Volkening. The Violets trimmed the lead down to two points by the 8:32 mark after back-to-back threes from Ethan Feldman and Noah Fennell, but the Spartans would expand the lead back to five points, 29-24, by the close of the half.
Duckett closed the first half with eight points and eight rebounds, as the Spartans shot 37.0% overall from the floor during the opening half, including nine-of-20 (45.0%) from inside the three-point line.
The Spartans led by four, 33-29, with 17:23 to play in the game, before opening up a 17 point lead with a 15-2 run over the next four minutes, with freshman guard Antonio Ionadi, sophomore forward Connor Nally and Khela all knocking down three pointers on three-straight possessions to cap off the run. The Spartans led by as many as 25 in the game, taking a 61-36 lead on a layup by Hollis with 10:05 to play, and a 71-46 advantage on a layup by freshman guard Ignas Masiulionis with 3:30 to go. The Spartans made 16-of-28 shots overall (57.1%) during the second half, outscoring the Violets 44-33 during the final stanza of the game.
The Spartans finished Sunday's contest shooting 47.3% overall, and made 16 of their 18 free throw attempts for an 88.9%, their second-highest of the season. CWRU outrebounded NYU 41-33 in the game, and held a 38-30 advantage in points in the paint.
Feldman led all NYU scorers on Sunday with 11 points, and Jimmy Martinelli added seven points and 12 rebounds for the Violets.
The Spartans will continue their four-game home stand next weekend, when the team returns to Horsburgh Gymnasium for its final two home games of the 2017-18 season. Case Western Reserve will host the University of Rochester on Friday, February 9th at 8:00 p.m. and Emory University on Sunday, February 11th at 11:00 a.m.