The Case Western Reserve University men's basketball team suffered a 72-65 setback to Oberlin College in its final non-conference game on Thursday afternoon at Horsburgh Gymnasium in Cleveland, Ohio.
The loss was the second-straight for the Spartans, who dropped to 7-4 overall. Oberlin improved to 7-4 with the victory.
Sophomore guard Antonio Ionadi led a trio of Spartan scorers in double figures in the game with 19 points, shooting eight-of-15 overall and three-of-nine from three-point range. Junior forward Connor Nally and freshman forward Ryan Newton each scored 13 points, and junior forward Michael Hollis finished the game with six points and 14 rebounds, his fifth effort of 10 or more rebounds this year.
The Spartans opened the game on a 7-0 run, capped off by a three-pointer by Ionadi with 17:43 remaining in the half. However, the team struggled with its shot for the remainder of the half, and the Yeomen would lead by as many as 12 points in the frame. A layup in the final minute of the first half by freshman forward Solomon Wells helped the Spartans close the gap to 39-29 by halftime.
Oberlin increased its lead back to 12 by the 18:42 mark, but a three by Nally and back-to-back layups by sophomore guard Michael Volkening helped pull the Spartans back within five points, 43-38, with 16:24 to go. After a three by Oberlin, Nally knocked down a three and was fouled, hitting the resulting free throw to trim the Yeomen's advantage to just four. The Spartans remained within striking distance for the next few minutes, before striking with threes from sophomore guard Ignas Masiulionis and Ionadi to get back within a point, 58-57, with 9:04 to go. Less than a minute later, a layup by Ionadi put the Spartans' ahead 59-58, the team's first lead since the 9:56 mark in the opening half.
Oberlin, however, responded with a basket of its own to regain the lead with 7:06 remaining, and would not trail again. CWRU kept it at a one-possession game until the 2:34 mark, before the Yeomen pulled away in the closing minutes of the contest to put the game out of reach.
The Spartans shot 35.4% overall in the game, but struggled from long range on Wednesday, connecting on just six-of-33 attempts from behind the three-point line (18.2%). Eli Silverman-Lloyd led the Yeomen with 19 points, while Christian Fioretti scored 16, and Andre Campbell added 12.
Case Western Reserve will now turn its attention towards University Athletic Association play. The Spartans will begin their 14-game conference schedule this weekend, traveling to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to face Carnegie Mellon University on Saturday, January 5th at 4:00 p.m.