Case Western Reserve University freshman forward Brady Flynn scored 12 of his career-high 16 points in the second half to lead at late comeback attempt for the Spartans, but the team's upset bid against Washington University (Mo.) fell just short on Sunday afternoon in a 66-63 loss to the Bears.
The loss dropped the Spartans to 9-11 overall including a 2-7 record in the University Athletic Association, while Washington remained atop the conference standings with a 7-2 league record and a 14-6 mark overall.
Flynn shot a perfect five-of-five from the floor and made six-of-seven free throw tries to lead all Spartans in scoring on Sunday, while adding a career-best eight rebounds. Five of his points came during a three minute stretch in the second half, helping CWRU cut a game-high seven point lead for Washington to just a pair, 63-61, with 2:42 to play. The Spartans could not get nail an equalizing shot, however, and a steal and a layup by the Bears' Justin Hardy, two of his game-high 26 points, put the Bears ahead by four with 19 second remaining.
The Spartans would not go away quietly, as sophomore guard Ignas Masiulionis answered with a quick layup to trim the lead back to two with 12 seconds left. The Spartans fouled, sending Washington's Marcus Meyer to the free throw line. Meyer would miss one of his two attempts, giving CWRU one last shot at evening the score with a three. After a long range shot from the wing by sophomore guard Antonio Ionadi with two seconds left missed the mark, junior forward Michael Hollis collected a long offensive rebound, one of his game-high 10 on Sunday, and stepped behind the three-point line, launching a last-chance three as time expired that went just off the front of the rim, and ended the contest in the favor of the Bears.
CWRU started hot from the floor on Sunday and took advantage of a slow shooting start from the Bears to begin the contest on a 10-2 run. Sophomore guard Regan Mohler knocked down a three and stole the resulting inbounds pass, setting up a three for freshman guard James Bittner with 15:39 remaining to put the Spartans ahead by eight. The Spartans maintained their lead, and three by Masiulionis gave CWRU a 20-8 advantage with 10:36 to go in the half and forced a Washington timeout. CWRU led by as many as 15 points in the period, taking a 28-13 lead at the 7:46 mark after junior forward Connor Nally made all three free throw attempts after being fouled on a long-range attempt, but the Bears closed the gap to seven points, 32-25, by halftime.
The Bears opened the second half on a 12-0 run, taking their first lead of the game with 16:58 remaining on an and-one by Justin Hardy, and going ahead 37-32 before a three by Nally with 15:03 remaining stopped the stretch and pulled CWRU back within two, 37-35. The Spartans would get a close as a point after a three-pointer by Hollis set the score to 43-42 with 12:29 remaining, but would be unable to regain a lead for the remainder of the contest.
Nally finished the game with 13 points, five rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal for CWRU, while Hollis added seven points and 10 rebounds on Sunday. CWRU's bench outscored the Bears 40-15, and the Spartans ended the contest shooting 36.7% overall (22-of-60).
The Spartans will play their final two road games of the season next weekend, when the team travels to face UAA foes NYU and Brandeis. Case Western Reserve will begin the weekend in New York against the Violets on Friday, February 8th, with tip-off scheduled for 8:00 p.m.