The Case Western Reserve University men's basketball team got off to a strong start, but ultimately could not overcome Emory University's offensive attack in a 91-74 loss to the Eagles in Atlanta, Georgia on Friday night.
The loss dropped the Spartans to 8-7 overall on the season, including a 1-3 ledger in University Athletic Association play. Emory raised its overall record to 11-4 with a 2-2 conference mark.
Four Spartans scored in double figures on Friday night, paced by junior forward Michael Hollis, who led all Spartans in the game with 20 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and two steals. Hollis shot eight-of-12 from the floor, while recording his second-straight double-double and his third overall this season.
Junior guard Sam Hansen scored 17 points in the game, shooting six-of-11 overall and four-of-nine from three-point range, and sophomore guard Antonio Ionadi added a five-of-eight shooting performance, including a five-of-seven effort from behind the three-point line, to finish with 15 points. Junior forward Connor Nally scored 11 points and collected five rebounds during the game.
Case Western Reserve shot a blistering 48.4% (15-of-31) from the field in the first half, including an eight-of-19 (42.1%) from three-point range, but Emory countered with a 55.9% (19-of-34) performance in the opening frame, including a six-of-13 (46.2%) mark from behind the arc, to take a 45-42 lead by the break. The Spartans opened the game on a 13-2 run, including three pointers by Hansen, Ionadi and Nally to grab an early 11-point lead in the first two-and-a-half minutes. Ionadi's second three of the game put the Spartans ahead 18-7 with 15:50 remaining in the period, but an 11-0 run by the Eagles tied the game with 12:38 to go. Sophomore guard Ignas Masiulionis ended the run with a three, but Emory answered with back-to-back baskets and a three of its own to take its first lead of the game with 10:32 left, and would not relinquish the advantage for the remainder of the contest. Hansen would connect on three three-pointers in the last five minutes of the half, helping to close the gap from nine points to just three by halftime.
Hansen scored 13 of his 17 points in the opening half, and Hollis added 10 points, six rebounds and four assists during the first 20 minutes.
An early run by Emory helped the Eagles' stretch their lead to 13 points, 58-45, with 16:20 remaining in the period. CWRU would trim the advantage back to seven points after layups by junior guard Monty Khela and freshman guard Robert Faller, and a pair of free throws by Khela made the score 58-51 with 14:50 to play. However, Emory expanded its lead back to 14 points with 11:23 to go. The Spartans would get back within single digits twice during the remainder of the game, the first time on a layup by Hollis with 8:03 remaining that made the score 72-63, and the second on a three-pointer by Ionadi with 5:50 remaining that set the score to 79-70, before the Eagles would pull away late for the 17-point win.
CWRU finished the game shooting 44.8% overall, including a 35.7% mark from three-point range. The Spartans connected on 12 total three pointers during the game, marking the eighth time this season the team has made 10 or more three-pointers, and the first time since its game against Plattsburgh on December 20th.
Lawrence Rowley led all Emory players in the game with 28 points, as the Eagles finished the contest shooting 53.1% from the floor and 50.0% from behind the three-point line.
The Spartans will continue their four-game road trip on Sunday, January 20th, when the team travels to the University of Rochester for a noon tip-off against the Yellowjackets.