The Case Western Reserve University men's basketball team suffered a close defeat on Sunday afternoon at Horsburgh Gymnasium, falling 67-65 to Brandeis University.
The loss dropped the Spartans to 8-6 overall, including a 1-2 mark in the University Athletic Association. Brandeis raised its record to 2-1 in conference games with the win, and to 9-5 overall.
Junior forward Michael Hollis notched his second double-double of the season and the third of his career, finishing with 13 points and 11 rebounds, leading all Spartan players in both categories. He shot five-for-nine from the floor and three-of-four from the free throw line, while adding three assists and three steals, both team-bests as well.
Sophomore guard Michael Volkening and junior forward Connor Nally each added eight points for the Spartans, and freshman forward Ryan Newton came off the bench to score seven points with seven rebounds.
The Spartans led for the majority of the first half, behind a 46.4% (13-of-28) shooting effort overall during the first 20 minutes of the game, while connecting on five-o f-12 three-point attempts (41.7%). An early 10-0 run, including eight-straight for Nally, helped the Spartans grab an eight-point lead, 10-2, in the first three minutes of the game. A three-pointer by freshman guard James Bittner with 11:43 to play in the period gave the Spartans their largest lead of the half, 19-8. CWRU would maintain its lead for the remainder of the half, going ahead 35-26 on a three by junior Sam Hansen with 1:50 remaining, before the Judges reeled off five late points to cut the Spartans' lead to four, 35-31, by halftime.
Nally's eight first half points led the Spartans, while Hollis scored six points and collected eight rebounds with three assists by the break.
Brandeis' run continued into the second half, with the Judges scoring the first seven points of the period to take a 38-35 lead with 17:39 remaining, the team's first lead since the opening minutes of the contest. The game remained close throughout the second half, with four ties and seven lead changes during the period. However, a three-pointer by Chandler Jones pushed Brandeis ahead by a point, 52-51, with 6:37 to go, and Brandeis would not relinquish its lead for the remainder of the contest.
The Spartans battled until the closing seconds of the game, cutting a five-point deficit with 21 seconds remaining down to just a point, 65-64, after a three-pointer by Newton and a pair of free throws by sophomore guard Antonio Ionadi with three seconds left. A pair of free throws by the Judges expanded the lead to three, and after a foul by Brandeis with two seconds remaining, junior guard Monty Khela made his first free throw and missed the second intentionally, but a rebound by the Judges' Latye Workman prevented a last-second shot to tie the game for the Spartans.
CWRU finished the game shooting 38.9% overall and 40.9% from behind the three-point line in the loss. The Spartans' bench outscored Brandeis' 24-11 in the game, including a 17-0 edge in the second half.
Corey Sherman led all players in the game with 20 points, with Jones adding 13 points in the victory for Brandeis.
Next up for the Spartans will be a stretch of four-straight UAA games away from home. Case Western Reserve will kick off the road swing next weekend with games at Emory University on Friday, January 18th and the University of Rochester on Sunday, January 20th.