Spartans Begin Season-Ending Road Stretch at #2 Washington & Chicago

Spartans Begin Season-Ending Road Stretch at #2 Washington & Chicago

The Case Western Reserve University men's basketball team will begin a three-game stretch of University Athletic Association road games to end its 2017-18 season, traveling to face second-ranked Washington University (Mo.) at 9:00 p.m. ET on Friday, February 16th in Saint Louis, Missouri, and the University of Chicago at 12:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 18th in Chicago, Illinois.

Live Coverage
Friday, February 16th at Washington (9:00 PM ET)
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Sunday, February 18th at Chicago (12:00 PM ET)
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CWRU Spartans
The Spartans will enter the weekend with a 12-10 overall record (including a 5-3 road ledger), and a 6-5 mark in the conference, good for a tie for third place in the league standings.  Case Western Reserve is coming off a pair of wins at home last weekend, falling 71-58 to Rochester and 75-72 to 13th-ranked Emory.  The Spartans have averaged 76.1 points per game this season on 42.4% shooting overall and 34.6% shooting from behind the three-point line, while allowing 76.0 points per contest.  Senior forward T.J. Duckett leads the team with 14.5 points and 10.3 rebounds per game this season, while freshman guard Ignas Masiulionis has added 11.0 points per contest.

Head Coach Todd McGuinness is in his second season at CWRU.  He has a career record of 134-99 (.575 winning percentage), which includes a seven-year stint at Hartwick College, where his teams qualified for the NCAA Championships on four occasions.  McGuinness is assisted by Rudy Kirbus, Kelly Blair, Liz Hornberger, Evan Shang and Aleksandar Zivic.

#2 Washington Bears

The Bears are yet to lose a game in the UAA, going 11-0 in conference play to lead the league standings, and need just one more win to clinch at least a share of the conference championship.  Following road wins of 87-75 at Brandeis and 99-72 at NYU last weekend, the team has won 12-straight games overall to improve to 20-2 on the season (including an 8-1 mark at home) and has risen to second in the latest Top-25.  The bears averaged 86.5 points per game on 47.5% shooting overall, including 38.8% on long range attempts, and have allowed 72.2 points per game.  Five different Washington players are averaging in double figures this season – senior forward Andrew Sanders (17.5), senior guard Jake Knupp (11.9), senior guatd Kevin Kucera (11.8), freshman guard Jack Nolan (11.4) and senior forward Matt Highsmith (10.3) – and senior forward David Schmelter has added 9.7 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.

Washington is coached by Mark Edwards, who is now in his 37th season with the team, and has a career record of 683-291, the fifth-most victories among active Division III coaches.  He is assisted by Caleb Lawson, Jason Jabbari and Steve Wilcutt.

Earlier in the year, CWRU suffered a 100-64 setback to the Bears in Cleveland, despite a 15-point, seven-rebounds, two-block performance from T.J. Duckett.  The Spartans will be looking for their first victory against Washington since an 89-78 road win against the Bears during the 2014-15 campaign.  Last year, the Spartans suffered a pair of close loses to the Bears, falling 88-77 at home, despite trailing by just a point with three minutes to play, and 102-97 on the road.  The series between the two teams dates back to the 1982-82 season, with the Bears holding a 46-5 advantage over CWRU all-time.

Chicago Maroons
Chicago stands at 10-12 overall in 2017-18, including a 7-3 home record, and will host Carnegie Mellon on Friday before playing the Spartans on Sunday.  The Maroons split a pair of games on the road last weekend, defeating NYU 75-66 before falling to Brandeis 70-66, and are tied with the Spartans for third in the UAA with a 6-5 conference record.  Chicago has averaged 72.4 points per game on 41.2% shooting overall and 33.5% shooting from three-point range, while allowing 71.1 points per game.  Senior guard Jake Fenlon leads the team with 17.0 points per game this season, while senior forward Collin Bathel has scored 12.7 points per game and collected a team-best 9.1 rebounds per contest.

The Maroons are coached by Mike McGrath, who has spent his entire 19 years as a Head Coach with the team, and has a 280-199 overall record.  He is assisted by Jason Petti, Bryan Joel and Rasheed Rosenje.

The Spartans put an end to a seven-game losing streak to Chicago with a 78-73 win over the Maroons when the teams last met in Cleveland on January 21stT.J. Duckett scored 22 points and collected nine rebounds in the game, while Ignas Masiulionis added 18 points for the Spartans.  Last year, the Spartans lost 74-72 at home to Chicago on a last-second three by Jake Fenlon, and 99-73 on the road (after a UAA-record setting 11 made three pointers by Chicago's Noah Karras).  Chicago leads the all-time series 38-11.

Spartan Notes

  • The Spartans' six University Athletic Association victories this season match the most in a 14-game conference campaign in program history, previously achieved 2009-10, 2013-14, and 2014-15.  Case Western Reserve went 7-8 during a 15-game UAA season in 1999-00.  The Spartans need one more win to clinch their first winning season overall since 2015-16, and their first .500 or better conference campaign in program history.
  • CWRU's five-game conference winning streak between January 21st and February 4th mark the longest stretch of consecutive UAA victories in program history.
  • CWRU is aiming for its first win against a ranked opponent since defeating then sixth-ranked Rochester on the road 76-72 on February 19th, 2017.  It also marked the highest-ranked opponent ever toppled by the Spartans.
  • The Spartans lead the UAA and are 44th among all NCAA Division III teams with 9.7 three-pointers made per game this season.  The team has totaled 214 three pointers this year, the third-most in school history and just the fourth-time ever the squad has converted over 200 three-point tries in a season (each of which has occurred in the last four years).  The team is 56 three pointers away from the program's single-season record, set by the 2014-15 team.
  • CWRU also leads the UAA in defensive rebounds per game with 29.05 (54th in DIII) and is second in the conference in offensive rebounds per game (13.32, 39th in DIII), total rebounds per game (42.36, 30th in DIII) and rebound margin per game (+5.3, 57th in DIII).
  • The Spartans are second among UAA teams and 93rd in Division III with 3.7 blocks per game as a team.
  • T.J. Duckett has totaled 227 rebounds this season, the fifth most in a single season in program history, and five shy of his personal record, set last year.  He would need to average 12.3 rebounds per game over the team's final three games to match the program record of 264, set by David Thompson during the 2013-14 campaign.  Duckett leads all UAA players this season with 3.41 offensive rebounds per game (34th in DIII), and is second in the conference with 6.91 defensive rebounds per game (47th in DIII), and 10.3 total rebounds per game (27th in DIII).  He is also 66th among active DIII players and 209th among active NCAA Division III players across all three divisions with 593 career rebounds, and 97th among active DIII players with 7.1 rebounds per game over his career.  Duckett is currently seventh in program history in career rebounds, and is just seven away from becoming only the sixth player in program history with over 600 career rebounds.
  • Duckett is also 29th among active Division III players with a career .577 field goal percentage, the third-highest mark in program history.  His .621 mark from the floor this season is the second-highest in a single season by a Spartan (behind only Greg Badowski's .645 mark during the 1988-89 campaign) and leads all UAA players, while ranking 25th in all of Division III in 2017-18.
  • Duckett tallied his 10th double-double of the season and the 21st of his career with a 19-point, 14-rebound effort against Emory on Sunday.  Four of his double-doubles this season and 11 over his career have come against UAA opponents.  Duckett currently leads all UAA players and is 37th in Division III in double-doubles this season, and is 41st among active Division III players in double-doubles.
  • Sophomore forward Michael Hollis is fifth in the UAA and 88th among Division III players with a 2.14 assist-to-turnover ratio this year.  He leads all Spartan players with 3.6 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks per game, and is second on the team with 7.1 rebounds per contest.
  • Ignas Masiulionis is third among all UAA freshmen with 11.0 points per game this season.  Guard Antonio Ionadi ranked third among UAA freshmen with 1.9 assists per contest.
  • CWRU is 4-0 when shooting at least 50% on three-point tries this season, and dating back to last season, has won five-straight games when making at least half of their three-point attempts.