Case Western Reserve University junior forward Connor Nally scored a season-high 21 points to lead the Spartans to an 80-70 win over Widener University at the 2018 HoopMIA D3 Holiday Shootout in Miami Shores, Florida on Wednesday afternoon.
The win was the third straight for the Spartans and their fourth in the last five games, as the team improved to 7-2 overall on the season. Widener fell to 7-5 on the year following the setback.
Nally finished the game nine-of-14 from the floor and two-of-five from three-point range to pace the Spartans' scoring on Wednesday, while also securing four rebounds and a block. Sophomore guard Ignas Masiulionis came off the bench to score 16 points (including 13 in the second half alone), connecting on five-of-10 shots overall and four-of-nine three-point tries, while adding six rebounds. Sophomore guard Antonio Ionadi picked up his fourth-straight double figure scoring effort with 13 points on four-of-seven shooting overall and three-of-four from long range with five rebounds and three assists, and sophomore guard Michael Volkening added a well-rounded effort with six points, and a team-leading seven rebounds and five assists.
Nally got his day started quickly, scoring the team's first eight points and spurring the Spartans to an 8-2 lead by the 17:15 mark. A quick run by Widener tied the game at 8-8, and the Pride would eventually take their first and only lead of the game, 17-16, with 8:34 remaining in the opening half. A 10-0 run by the Spartans, capped off by a layup by Volkening with 6:16 to go, put CWRU ahead 26-17, and the team would go on to carry a three-point lead, 36-33, into the halftime break.
Nally had another dominant stretch early in the second half, scoring nine-straight points to give the Spartans a 12-point lead, 47-35, with 15:36 to go. The Pride trimmed the Spartans' advantage back down to five points, 49-44, with 12:38 left, but another Spartans run, this time an 8-0 stretch with threes by Masiulionis and Ionadi, pushed the lead to 12 points with just over 10 minutes remaining. CWRU led by as many as 14 in the second half, going ahead 74-60 on a three by Ionadi with 4:28 left in the game. Widener was able to get the game back to within single digits, closing the gap to eight, 74-66, with 2:14 to go, but could not get any closer than that the remainder of the contest.
The Spartans finished the game shooting 50.0% from the floor as a team (28-of-56), marking the third time this season the team has shot 50% or better in a game. CWRU was 10-for-26 from long range, their fourth-straight game with 10 or more made threes, while their 38.5% from behind the three-point line was their third-highest mark of the campaign.
Four players finished the game in double figures for Widener, including a team-high 15 points on Wednesday for Connor Laverty.
The Spartans will be back in action tomorrow at the 2018 HoopMIA D3 Holiday Shootout, facing a non-conference test against 13th-ranked Plattsburgh State. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. at the Barry University Health & Sports Center in Miami Shores, Florida.