Case Western Reserve University fell on the road to the University of Rochester on Monday afternoon, suffering an 81-68 loss to the 22nd-ranked Yellowjackets at the Palestra in Rochester, New York, in a game that was postponed a day due to a snow storm in the area on Sunday.
The loss dropped the Spartans to 8-8 on the season and to 1-4 in University Athletic Association play. Rochester raised its record to 13-3 overall and to 3-2 in the league this year.
Junior guard Sam Hansen led all Spartans with 11 points in the game, but it was the Spartans' freshman class that provided a spark for the team on Monday, with first-year players combining for 31 of the team's 68 points in the game. Freshman forward Solomon Wells added a career-high eight points for CWRU, while freshmen guards Jack Vaselaney and Robert Faller each scored six.
The Spartans netted the first two baskets of the game on Monday, taking a 5-0 lead with 17:50 to play in the first half on a three-pointer by sophomore guard Michael Volkening. Rochester pulled back within a point with 14:41 remaining, but Hansen knocked down a three to extend the Spartans' lead back to four, 12-8. The Yellowjackets grabbed their first lead of the game, 13-12, with 13:12 to play in the period, kicking off a stretch of seven lead changes over the next five minutes of the game. A layup by freshman forward Brady Flynn gave CWRU a 20-19 lead at the 8:47 mark, but Rochester answered with nine-straight points, before Volkening ended the run with his second three of the period to pull CWRU back within five, 28-23, with 5:27 to play. A three-pointer by junior forward Michael Hollis with 2:07 left in the half trimmed the lead back to a point, 35-34, but Rochester closed out the period with a pair of long-range shots to expand their lead back to seven, 41-34, at halftime.
Five different CWRU players made at least one three-pointer during the first half, as the team hit eight-of-17 long range attempts for 47.1% during the frame. Volkening, Hansen and sophomore guard Ignas Masiulionis each scored six points during the first 20 minutes of play, and Hollis added five points, five rebounds, four assists and a pair of blocks.
Five straight points by the Yellowjackets to start the second half helped Rochester quickly extend its lead to double figures, 46-34. Rochester built its lead to 15 points with 13:13 remaining, before Newton and Vaselaney combined to score 11-straight points for the Spartans, including an and-one for Vaselaney that got the Spartans back within single digits, 63-55, with 9:04 to play. However, Rochester would go on a 7-0 run, regaining a double-digit lead it would maintain for the remainder of the game.
The Spartans finished the game shooting 37.9% overall (22-of-58), including 42.9% (12-of-28) from three-point range.
Ryan Clamage led the Yellowjackets with 19 points and 10 rebounds in the win.
The Spartans will continue their UAA road trip next weekend, when the Spartans travel to face the University of Chicago and Washington University (Mo.). Case Western Reserve will open the weekend at Chicago on Friday, January 25th at 9:00 p.m ET.