The Case Western Reserve University men's basketball team picked up its second-straight victory to begin the 2018 campaign, as they opened the Bill Sudeck Tournament with a 78-48 victory over Franciscan University on Friday evening at Horsburgh Gymnasium in Cleveland, Ohio.
The Spartans improved to 2-0 overall on the campaign, while Franciscan dropped to 1-1 with the loss. Case Western Reserve will advance to the tournament's championship game on Saturday against Washington College, which defeated Keystone College 80-56 later in the day on Friday to improve to 3-0 on the year.
Case Western Reserve shot 45.9% (28-of-61) overall, 40.9% (nine-of-22) on three point attempts, and 81.3% (13-of-16) from the free throw line.
Junior forward Connor Nally led all players in the game with 17 points on six-of-eight shooting from the floor, including two-of-three from the three-point line, while also tallying a game-high eight rebounds. Junior Michael Hollis and sophomore Ignas Masiulionis added nine and eight points, respectively.
The Spartans shot a blistering 51.9% during the first half, knocking down 14-of-27 shots overall, including four-of-10 three-point attempts (40.0%). Three early points from Nally and a layup from Masiulionis helped the Spartans surge to a 9-0 lead four minutes into the game. Franciscan would pull back within three, 11-8, with 13:27 to play in the half, but a 23-4 spur by CWRU, capped by a layup from sophomore Regan Mohler put the Spartans ahead by 22, 34-12. The 22-point advantage was the largest lead of the half for CWRU, a mark the would match again on a layup by sophomore Michael Volkening with 47 seconds in the period, before finishing the half with a 40-19 lead.
Case Western Reserve would maintain a double-digit lead for the entire second half, as they opened the half on an 11-0 run that was capped off by a layup from junior Sam Hansen. The Spartans took a game-high 33 point lead on a three-pointer by sophomore Antonio Ionadi with 13:32 remaining in the contest. Nally scored six of his 17 points in the second half, while freshman Holden Lipke scored all five of his points during the period, as the Spartans shot 41.2% (14-of-34) from the floor during the half, including five-of-12 (41.7%) from behind the three-point line.
The Spartans outrebounded Franciscan 41-29 and finished the victory with a 14-7 edge in steals.
Franciscan was led by Nate Nowicki, who finished the game with nine points, while Dalton Davis added seven in the contest.
Tip-off of the Bill Sudeck Tournament Championship game between the Spartans and the Shoremen is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, and will be preceded by the consolation game between Keystone and Franciscan at 1:00 p.m.