Case Western Reserve University sophomore guard Ignas Masiulionis scored a career-high 26 points, including 20 in the second half to lead a comeback attempt, but it was not enough for the Spartans in an 88-69 loss to 13th-ranked Plattsburgh State in the finale of the 2018 HoopMIA D3 Holiday Shootout in Miami Shores, Florida on Thursday afternoon.
The loss put an end to a three-game winning streak for Case Western Reserve, which ended the 2018 portion of its schedule with a 7-3 record. Plattsburgh State raised its record to 9-2 with the win.
Masiulionis did the majority of his damage from behind the three-point arc, making six of his 16 attempts from long range, one shy of matching the program's single game record. He shot nine-of-22 overall from the field, and finished with three rebounds and three steals. Masiulionis' 26 points surpassed his previous career best of 23, set earlier this season against Albion.
Junior forward Connor Nally was the only other Spartan player to score in double figures on Wednesday, finishing the game with 10 points, four rebounds and three steals. Freshman forward Ryan Newton added nine points and eight rebounds, and sophomore guard Antonio Ionadi dished out a career-best seven assists and matched his career-high with six rebounds.
CWRU struggled to make shots in the opening half, and fell behind by as many as 22 to the Cardinals, 34-12 with 6:12 left in the first period. However, the Spartans were able to close the gap with a 13-5 run heading into halftime, pulling back within 14, 39-25. Masiulionis knocked down a pair of threes during the late run, matching Nally for a team-high six points in the first half of play.
Plattsburgh pushed its lead back to 18 points, 46-28, with 18:18 left in the game, before the Spartans went on a 9-0 run to cut the Cardinals' advantage to single digits, 46-37, with 15:33 to go. CWRU continued to chip away at the Plattsburgh State lead, trimming it to six points, 55-49, on a layup by junior guard Sam Hansen with 12:02 to play. The Cardinals responded with a 9-0 run to build their lead back to 15 with 9:46 remaining. CWRU would continue to remain within striking distance, pulling back within nine on a three by Hansen with 8:22 remaining that made the score 66-57, but the Cardinals answered again, this time with an 8-0 run, to take a 17-point lead with 7:04 left, and essentially put the game out of reach.
After shooting just 21.9% from the floor and 21.1% from three-point range in the first half, the Spartans rebounded in the second, raising their percentages to 42.1% overall and 41.2% from three. CWRU made 11-of-36 three-point tries overall in the game, marking the team's fifth-straight game and 10th time overall this season that it has converted 10 or more three point shots.
Travis Cox paced Plattsburgh with 17 points in the game, and was one of six Cardinals to score at least 10 points in the contest.
The Spartans will be off from play until Thursday, January 3rd, when the team plays its final non-conference game of the season, hosting Oberlin College at Horsburgh Gymnasium in Cleveland, Ohio. The game is scheduled for a special 11:00 a.m. tip-off, as CWRU will be celebrating Stephanie Tubbs Jones Youth Day during the contest.