Case Western Reserve University overcame a 10-point deficit in the first half, and freshman forward Ryan Newton hit a long distance three point shot at the end of regulation to send the game into overtime, but the Spartans ultimately succumbed to Brandeis University 71-66 in Waltham, Massachusetts on Sunday afternoon.
Watch Newton's game-tying three-pointer:
Newton and junior forward Connor Nally each scored 11 points to lead the Spartans in the game while sophomore guards Michael Volkening and Antonio Ionadi each added 10 apiece. Junior forward Michael Hollis finished a point shy of a double-double, scoring nine and collecting 16 boards (one short of his career-best tally), while also registering five steals in the game.
CWRU was dominant on the boards in the game holding a 52-38 rebounding edge over the Judges and a 23-7 advantage in second change points off a 26-7 bump in offensive rebounds. However, despite knocking down 10 three-pointers in the game (the 11th time this season the team has accomplished the feat), the Spartans could not overcome a 27.2% shooting performance overall in the game.
The Spartans trailed by as many as 10 points in the opening half, but were able to close the gap at the end of the period. Down 31-24 with 4:29 left in the half, CWRU forced three Brandeis turnovers to spur a 6-0 run, and get back within a point, 31-30, on a layup by junior guard Sam Hansen with 1:48 to play. The Judges knocked down a three with 1:05 to play in the stanza to carry a 34-30 lead into the break.
CWRU kept the game close in the opening half despite a hot shooting start for the Judges, who hit 60.9% of their attempts from the floor over the first 20 minutes. However, the Spartans countered by scoring 11 points off 10 Brandeis turnovers in the first half, and collected 14 offensive rebounds, leading to 14 points.
A converted and-one by Hollis and a jumper by sophomore guard Ignas Masiulionis gave the Spartans their first lead of the game, 35-34, with 18:33 to play. The team exchange one-point leads until a three by Volkening put CWRU in front 40-38, and a pair of free throws by Hollis pushed the Spartans lead to four points. The Spartans and the Judges continued to go back-and forth, with Brandeis taking a lead on a three pointer with 10:48 to play, and Volkening responding with a layup off an offensive rebound by Hollis to put CWRU back in front 46-45 with 10:18 remaining. After Brandeis regained the lead on a jumper, junior forward Connor Nally hit a three to put the Spartans back up by two points with 7:34 to play. Nally hit another three with 6:24 remaining in the game, giving CWRU a 52-47 lead over the Judges, what would prove to be the Spartans' largest advantage of the day.
Brandeis would eventually battle back to tie the game at 56-56 on a three pointer with 2:53 remaining, and took a one-point lead on a free throw with 2:21 to go. The score remained 57-56 until the closing seconds of the game, and all hope appeared to be lost for the Spartans after a turnover with six seconds left and a pair of free throws put Brandeis ahead by three. However, CWRU made the most of one last opportunity, as Newton was able to scoop up a loose ball just in front of the half court line and launch a three as time expired, hitting the shot to knot the score at 59-59. After a lengthy official review, the call was upheld, sending the game into overtime.
Brandeis led in the early part of overtime, but a converted and-one by Volkening with 3:17 left in the extra period evened the score at 64-64. A free throw gave Brandeis a one-point lead with under three minutes left, and neither team would score again until the Judges knocked down two more free throws to go up three with 34 seconds to play in the extra period. Masiulionis converted a pair of free throws of his own with 17 seconds to go to get CWRU back within a point, 67-66, but that would be as close as CWRU could get, as the Judges went four-of-four from the line over the remainder of the game, and held the Spartans scoreless, to win by five.
The loss dropped the Spartans to 9-13 overall and to 2-9 in University Athletic Association play, while Brandeis University improved to 13-9 on the year with a 6-5 UAA record.
Chandler Jones led the Judges with 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Lawrence Sabir added a double-double of his own with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Case Western Reserve will return to Cleveland to begin a season-ending three game home stand against conference opponents, starting next weekend. The Spartans will open the stretch on Friday, February 15th against Emory University at 8:00 p.m. inside Horsburgh Gymnasium.