CWRU Tops UAA-Leader Chicago 85-80 on Road

CWRU Tops UAA-Leader Chicago 85-80 on Road

The Case Western Reserve University men's basketball team connected on 14 three-pointers, including nine in the second half alone, to ultimately claim a victory in a back-and-forth affair in Chicago, Illinois on Friday night, defeating the University of Chicago 85-80.

The win ended a three-game skid for the Spartans, who improved to 9-8 overall, including a 2-4 record in the University Athletic Association.  Chicago, which dropped to 11-6 overall, fell into a four-way tie for first place in the conference with a 4-2 league record, along with Rochester, Emory and Washington (Mo.).

Four players scored in double figures for the Spartans on Friday night, led by sophomore guard Ignas Masiulionis off the bench, who finished the game with 16 points on six-of-11 shooting overall and four-of-eight from behind the three-point line.  Masiulionis did the majority of his damage in the second half, scoring 13 points over the final 20 minutes of the game, including a key three-pointer with 1:52 remaining in the game that put the Spartans ahead by two, giving the team the lead for good in the contest.

After Masiulionis connected on the three pointer to put the Spartans in front 78-76, junior forward Michael Hollis followed with a steal and a layup, and was fouled on the play, connecting on the resulting free throw to give CWRU an 81-76 advantage, matching the team's largest lead of the game with 1:33 remaining.  Chicago would trim the Spartans' lead down to a point in the closing minute, but junior guard Monty Khela hit a pair of free throws with 25 seconds remaining to extend the lead back to three.

Before Chicago could launch a three to attempt to tie the game on the next possession, CWRU wisely fouled with six seconds remaining, sending the Maroons to the line for a one-and-one opportunity.  The Chicago player missed the front end of the attempt, and freshman forward Ryan Newton collected the defensive rebound, and was immediately fouled, hitting both of the ensuing free throw attempts to put the game out of reach for good, and secure the Spartans' win.

Hollis recorded his third double-double in the last four games, finishing the contest with 10 points and 14 rebounds, along with four assists.  Sophomore guard Antonio Ionadi connected on four-of-six three-point attempts and five-of-eight shots overall for 14 points, and Newton added 11 points and six rebounds off the bench for CWRU. 

The Spartans and the Maroons went back and forth early.  Khela tied the game at 16-16 with a three-pointer at the 11:34 mark in the opening half, before a 12-2 run by Chicago put the Maroons in front by 10, 28-18.  Hollis ended the run with a layup with 7:59 remaining in the period, starting a quick 6-0 run that helped the Spartans pull back within four with 5:59 remaining, 28-24.  The Spartans would continue to chip away at the Maroon's lead, eventually tying the game at 32-32 after an and-one by freshman forward Solomon Wells followed by a steal and a layup by sophomore guard Michael Volkening with 2:17 remaining in the half.  Chicago would regain the lead, but Masiuilionis drained a three at the end of the half to knot the score at 37-37 heading into the break.

A pair of free throws by Volkening to start the second half gave the Spartans their first lead since the 14:13 mark in the first half, and two three pointers by junior forward Connor Nally put CWRU ahead 45-40 with 17:21 remaining.  Chicago eventually tied the game at 47-47, and the two teams would continue to trade lead for the remainder of the half.  A three by Volkening tied the game at 52-52 with 14:06 left, and Masiulionis hit a three with 11:43 left as part of a stretch of seven-straight points for the guard to knot the score at 57-57.  An Ionadi three with 7:19 remaining tied the game at 64-64 and started a 7-0 CWRU run, but once against Chicago would have an answer, following with an 8-0 run of its own to go ahead by four again.  However, the Spartans would remain close, with Ionadi hitting another game-tying three with 3:59 remaining to even the score at 72 apiece, and Masiulionis connecting on a long-range shot with 2:48 remaining to put CWRU ahead 75-73.  After the Maroons answered with another three to regain the lead, Masiulionis would put an end to the back-and-forth with his final three of the game with 1:52 left, giving CWRU the lead for good.

The Spartans connected on 56.3% of their three-point shots (nine-of-16) in the second half on Friday, and finished the game shooting 14-of-32 (43.8%) from long range.  CWRU shot 46.0% (29-of-63) overall in the contest, including a 51.7% (15-of-29) mark in the second half.

The Spartans will wrap-up their four-game road swing on Sunday, traveling to Saint Louis, Missouri to face Washington University at 1:00 p.m. ET.