Spartans Fall to Otterbein 73-67 in First Road Game of Season

Monty Khela drives to the hoop against Otterbein (photo credit Ed Syguda)

The Case Western Reserve University men's basketball team fell to Otterbein University 73-67 on Wednesday night at the Rike Center in Westerville, Ohio in its first road game of the season. The Spartans fall to 2-1 on the season, while the Cardinals improve to 2-0.

Senior guard Monty Khela recorded the first double-double of his career, leading all players with 15 points, a career-high 15 rebounds, and five assists. Junior guard Ignas Masiulionis added 14 points of his own on 5-of-12 shooting.

After a low-scoring first half, the Spartans trailed 32-29. Case Western Reserve held Otterbein to just 35% shooting from the field in the half, posting a solid defensive effort.

Nearly nine minutes into the contest, the Spartans opened up an eight-point lead, 15-7, the team's largest of the game. Over the next four and a half minutes, the Spartans did not score, and the Cardinals went on an 11-point run to take the lead. Junior guard Antonio Ionadi tied the game at 21 with just under five minutes to go in the half, but the Spartans could not reclaim the lead.

Otterbein then opened up a six-point advantage with two and a half minutes to go in the opening period, 30-24. With scores on their next three possessions, CWRU cut the deficit to one. The Cardinals scored on the final possession of the half to take a three-point lead into the break. 

The hosts then built an 11-point lead at the start of the second half on the back of a 16-8 run. The Spartans cut the deficit to three, 52-49, after Khela connected on a free throw midway through the half. They kept it a two-possession game, never letting the Cardinals going up by more than six.

With about four minutes to go, the Spartans trailed by three, 61-58. The score remained that way for the next few minutes until Otterbein pushed the advantage to five. Khela responded with a mid-range jumper to keep the game within one score with 2:30 to play. At 1:17, Otterbein pushed ahead by five, 65-60, after a missed Spartan three-point attempt and a layup at the other end.

CWRU cut the deficit to four with ten seconds to play when Masiulionis completed a three-point play, but Otterbein made two free throws to secure the win.

The Spartans held the Cardinals to under 40% from the field, but could not find the basket themselves. CWRU made 36.8% of its shots, including just three-for-27 from beyond the arc.  

The Spartans continue their three-game road trip with a trip to University Heights, Ohio on Wednesday, November 20 to face John Carroll University at 7 p.m.