The Case Western Reserve University men's basketball team will return home to Horsburgh Gymnasium to host its first University Athletic Association home games of the season this weekend, when the Spartans face New York University at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, January 11th and Brandeis University on Sunday, January 13th at 12:00 p.m in Cleveland, Ohio.
vs. NYU (Friday, January 11th)
Live Stats: https://athletics.case.edu/sports/mbkb/2018-19/boxscores/20190111_0z1u.xml
vs. Brandeis (Sunday, January 13th)
Live Stats: https://athletics.case.edu/sports/mbkb/2018-19/boxscores/20190113_q6j3.xml
The Spartans will return home looking to put an end to a three-game losing streak, including an 85-71 setback at Carnegie Mellon University in their opening game of the UAA season last Saturday. The loss dropped CWRU to 7-5 overall, including a 5-2 record in home matches this year. CWRU averages 75.1 points per game, while shooting 40.9% overall from the floor and 33.0% from three-point range, and allowing 71.3 points per contest. Three CWRU players are averaging in double-figures this season, including sophomore guards Ignas Masiulionis (12.2 point per game) and Antonio Ionadi (10.9 points per game) and freshman forward Ryan Newton (10.1 points per game). Junior forward Michael Hollis has added 8.8 points per game and a team-best 9.7 rebounds per contest.
The Spartans are under the leadership of Head Coach Todd McGuinness, who is now in his third year with the team. During his 10 year career as a collegiate head coach, which includes seven years at Hartwick, he has a 141-107 overall record, good for a .569 winning percentage. McGuinness is assisted by Mike Fitzpatrick and T.J. Duckett.
New York University will come to Cleveland with a 6-6 record, including a 4-2 mark in road contests. The Violets opened their UAA season last weekend with a loss, suffering a 56-52 loss at Brandeis. NYU has averaged 71.2 points per game this year on 44.6% shooting overall and 32.4% from three-point range, while allowing 67.7 points per contest. Junior forward Dom Cristiano leads the team with 15.3 points per game and 9.6 rebounds per contest, and junior forward Jimmy Martinelli has added 11.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per contest.
The Violets are led by first-year Head Coach Dagan Nelson, who took over the team following the retirement of long-time Head Coach Joe Nesci after the 2017-18 season. Nelson, a 1996 graduate of Ramapo, has a record of 41-72 over his five-year career as a head coach, which includes a four-year stint at SUNY New Paltz from 2007-11. He is assisted by Dan Rickard, Dante Milligan, James Altman and Cal Ramsey.
The Spartans have won their last three meetings against the Violets, and stand at 16-36 all-time in the series, which dates back to the 1984-85 season. CWRU swept the series last year with a 77-75 overtime win in New York, and a 73-57 victory in Cleveland. During the two games, Ignas Masiulionis averaged 14.0 points, and Michael Hollis added 7.0 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. After Friday's contest, the two teams will meet again on February 8th in New York.
Brandeis has opened its campaign with an 8-4 overall record, including their UAA-opening win over NYU last Saturday, and are 4-1 in road contests. The team will be headed to Pittsburgh to face Carnegie Mellon on Friday, prior to coming to Cleveland to take on the Spartans on Sunday afternoon. The Judges are averaging 66.4 points per game on 41.3% shooting overall and 35.5% from behind the three-point line, while allowing 61.8 points per contest. Four Brandeis players are averaging double figure point totals this year, led by senior guard Corey Sherman with 14.5. Other top scorers for the team include sophomore forward Chandler Jones (12.8 points per game), junior guard/ forward Eric D'Aguanno (11.1 points per game) and junior guard/ forward Collin Sawyer (10.5 points per game).
Jean Bain is in his first season as the Head Coach of the Judges after being hired over the summer. This is his first head coaching job for Bain, who came to Brandeis after serving as the Associate Head Coach at Columbia. The 2002 Northeastern graduate is assisted by Sean Tabb, Patrick Luptowski and L.J. Harrington.
The series between the Spartans and the Judges, which dates back to the first game in 1987-88, is even between the two teams at 25-25. CWRU has held the recent advantage in the matchup, winning nine of the last 11 games and each of the last three. The Spartans swept the series against Brandeis last season, winning 89-58 in Waltham and 69-54 in Cleveland. Junior guard Monty Khela averaged a team-high 12.5 points over the two games last year, with Ignas Masiulionis chipping in 10.5. This will be the first of two meetings this season between the two teams, with the squads facing off again in Waltham on February 10th.
- Case Western Reserve has made 116 three-point shots over its first 12 games of the season, the third most among conference teams. The Spartans are on pace to connect on 241 three-point shots this season, which would mark the second-highest single-season total in program history. CWRU has made 10 or more three-point shots in seven of their 12 games this year, including five of their seven wins.
- The Spartans are ranked 40th in Division III and lead all UAA teams with 4.5 blocks per game this season. Both Michael Hollis and Ryan Newton are averaging 1.08 blocks per game, which is tied for the third-best among all UAA players. Junior forward Connor Nally is fifth in the conference with 1.0 blocks per game this season. The Spartans are on pace for 112 blocks in 2018-19, which would mark the fourth-best single-season total in team history.
- CWRU registered a season-high 10 blocks last Saturday against Carnegie Mellon, including a career-high five for Hollis, three for Newton and a pair for junior guard Sam Hansen. The 10 blocks were tied for the 21st-most in a single Division III game this season. It marked the most blocks in a game by a Spartan team since December 29, 2015, when CWRU blocked 11 shots against Kalamazoo.
- Hollis leads all UAA players this season with 9.7 rebounds per game in 2018-19. He is currently 54th in Division III in rebounds per game, 60th in offensive rebounds per game (3.25) and 75th in total rebounds (116), pacing the conference in all three categories. In addition, his 6.42 defensive rebounds per game are second among UAA players and the 93rd-most in Division III. Hollis has recorded back-to-back 14 rebound efforts entering the weekend, has notched six double-figure rebound efforts this year.
- Nally and Hansen have each made 89 three-point shots over their careers, and are tied for the 18th-most in the program's history. They are 11 away from becoming the 17th and 18th players in program history to eclipse 100 career made three-point shots.