Volkening Scores Career-High 22 in Spartans’ Loss to #22 Rochester

Volkening Scores Career-High 22 in Spartans’ Loss to #22 Rochester

Case Western Reserve University sophomore guard Michael Volkening scored 17 of his career-high 22 points in the second half on Sunday afternoon, helping the Spartans push the 22nd-ranked University of Rochester Yellowjackets to the brink, but CWRU could not pick up the win in a 68-62 loss at Horsburgh Gymnasium.

With one game remaining in the regular season, the loss dropped the Spartans to 9-15 overall and to 2-11 in the University Athletic Association play, while Rochester remained tied for first in the conference with 10-3 league record, and improved to 20-4 overall.

Volkening shot eight-of-14 overall and three-of-six from long range in the game to surpass his previous career-high of 21 points, set against Alfred last season.  He also collected six rebounds in the game, one shy of his career-best mark.  Junior forward Michael Hollis added nine points, and led all CWRU players in the game with nine rebounds and three assists.

Rochester scored the first five points of the game, before the Spartans launched on a 13-2 run, capped off by a three by Volkening that put CWRU ahead by eight and forced a Yellowjackets timeout.  The Spartans continued to lead until a jumper by Rochester's Jacob Wittig with 4:31 left in the half put the Yellowjackets back in front, 25-24.  The teams exchanged baskets over the next two possessions, but Rochester closed out the half with an 8-2 stretch to take a 33-28 lead into the break.

Volkening hit a three and made a layup on back-to-back possessions early in the second half to knot the score at 33-33 with 17:23 to play in the game, but the Yellowjackets answered back, building a 10-point lead, 51-41, with 9:52 to play.  Volkening sparked another Spartan run, bookending a 10-0 game-tying spurt with a three with 9:30 left and a pair of free throws with 8:20 left, tying the game again at 51-51.

Rochester again increased its lead to three, but a layup by Volkening and a pair of free throws by sophomore guard Antonio Ionadi gave CWRU its first lead since the opening half, 55-54, with 4:18 to play.  Back-to-back layups put the Yellowjackets back in front 58-55 with 3:20 left on the clock, but the Spartans answered again, this time with layups by Ionadi and Hollis on consecutive possessions to go back ahead, 59-58.  A basket by Rochester put the Yellowjackets in front again with 2:20 to go, and Hollis evened the score for a final time at 60-60, knocking down one of two free throws with 1:56 remaining.  However, the Yellowjackets were able to take the lead with a layup on their next possession, starting a 6-0 run that would secure their victory.

Case Western Reserve will conclude its 2018-19 season next Saturday, February 23rd, at Horsburgh Gymnasium, when the Spartans host Carnegie Mellon University.  Tip-off is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.