Returning home to Horsburgh Gymnasium in Cleveland, Ohio after three straight road games, the Case Western Reserve University men's basketball team defeated Denison University 51-45 in a defensive struggle on Tuesday night. The win breaks a three-game losing streak for CWRU and brings the team's record to 3-3. Denison drops to 2-3 on the season.
The 45 points were the fewest allowed by the Spartans since the team held Rochester to 37 on January 25, 2015.
First-year forward Cole Frilling came off the bench to lead CWRU with 13 points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. Adding 10 points was junior guard Michael Volkening.The Spartans held the Big Red to just 31.9% shooting, while connecting at a 36.2% rate from the field themselves.
The Spartans and Big Red traded baskets to begin the game, though Denison built a seven-point lead with a quartet of three-pointers four minutes into the contest. On the back of a 9-0 run, CWRU took a 14-12 lead on a layup from Frilling with just over 11 minutes to go in the first half.
Denison used an 8-0 run to take a 20-14 lead with under six minutes to go in the half. The Spartans played strong defense and kept the deficit at six until junior guard Ignas Masiulionis made a three-pointer with just over a minute to play in the half. Denison added two free throws to take a 22-17 lead into halftime.
After a low-scoring first half, senior guard Monty Khela made two quick three-pointers to give Case Western Reserve a 23-22 lead on the team's first two shots of the second half. Denison responded to reclaim a 27-23 advantage a few minutes later. Sophomore forward Ryan Newton gave the Spartans a one-point lead midway through the half with a layup to push the score to 31-30.
Denison retook the lead, 35-33, with a three-pointer with just over seven minutes to play. Frilling tied the contest at 35 on the following possession, and Volkening pushed the Spartans ahead with two free throws. Holding Denison scoreless for nearly six minutes, CWRU built a nine-point lead, 44-35, with 1:31 left in regulation.
The Spartans made their free throws in the final minute to close out the game with a 51-45 win.
Case Western Reserve scored 24 points off turnovers, compared to just four for Denison. The Spartan bench outscored their Big Red counterparts 23-5.
The Spartans will hit the road again and travel to Greenville, Pennsylvania to take on Thiel College (2-3) on Wednesday, December 4. Tipoff from Beeghly Gymnasium is scheduled for 8 p.m.