Case Western Reserve University junior forward Michael Hollis shot a perfect seven-for-seven from the floor and nine-for-nine from the free throw line, scoring 23 points and leading the Spartans to an 89-80 win over Albion College in the team's 2018-19 season opener on Friday night at Horsburgh Gymnasium in Cleveland, Ohio.
Hollis added nine rebounds with three assists, a block and a steal, and tied with sophomore guard Ignas Masiulionis for the team lead with 23 points. Masiulionis connected on six-of-12 shots overall and five-of-eight from three point range in the game, and junior guard Sam Hansen added 14 points, shooting four-of-six from behind the three-point arc.
As a team, the Spartans finished the game shooting a blistering 51.9% from the floor, including 48.3% (14-of-29) from behind the three-point line.
The Spartans took their largest lead of the first half just two-and-a-half minutes into the game, grabbing a 10-2 advantage with early three pointers by Hansen and Masiulionis. The Britons would keep the score close in the first half, and were able to grab a two-point lead on four different occasions. However, a pair of free throws by Hollis broke a 37-37 tie and gave CWRU the lead for good in the game with 2:52 remaining in the first half, and a layup by Masiulionis with time running out in the half helped the Spartans extend their lead to four, 47-43, heading into the break.
Behind a 17-point, six-rebound effort in the second half for Hollis, the Spartans would lead for the remainder of the game, seeing their advantage swell to as many as 16 points after a layup by Hollis with 4:57 to play made the score 79-63. Hollis scored 10 of his 23 points in the final five minutes of the game, helping the Spartans run away late in the game.
The win is the Spartans' first to open a season since a 79-58 win over Goucher in 2015.
The Spartans will be back in action at Horsburgh Gymnasium next Friday night, when the team opens play at the Bill Sudeck Tournament, presented by the Intercontinental Hotel, against Franciscan University. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.