Late Comeback Falls Short for Spartans in Season Finale

Late Comeback Falls Short for Spartans in Season Finale

The Case Western Reserve University men's basketball team cut a 21-point second half deficit to just four in the closing minutes of the game, but ultimately could not get past the Carnegie Mellon University Tartans in a 72-63 loss in the teams' season finale in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Saturday.

With the loss, the Spartans ended the season with a 12-13 overall record, including a 6-8 ledger in University Athletic Association.  Carnegie Mellon improved to 7-18, ending their campaign with a 3-11 UAA mark.

Freshman guard Ignas Masiulionis scored 15 points to lead all Spartans on Saturday, shooting five-of-15 from the floor and connecting on a pair of three-point attempts.  Freshman guard Michael Volkening added 12 points, sophomore guard Monty Khela scored 10, and senior forward T.J. Duckett collected a game-high 16 rebounds in the final game of his collegiate career. 

The Spartans struggled in the first half, shooting just 27.3% overall and 14.3% from long range, as the Tartans led by as many as 21 points in the period and closed out the frame with a 40-21 advantage.  Carnegie Mellon led by as many as 21 points with 17:58 remaining in the second half, and by 17, 60-43, with 9:43 to go.  However, the Spartans surged back with a 16-3 run, cutting the lead to just four, 63-59, on a layup by sophomore forward Michael Hollis with 2:08 to play.  However, three late turnovers by Case Western Reserve helped the Tartans bolster their lead back to 11 in the closing minute, putting the game out of reach.

Zach Howarth led the Tartans with 18 points in the game, while Patrick Ehland scored 12 points off the bench for Carnegie Mellon.

Despite the loss, the Spartans' six conference wins matched the most in the program's history in a 14-game UAA schedule, while the team's overall record marked a four-game improvement on their record to conclude the 2016-17 campaign.