Second Half Comeback Powers Spartans to 90-83 Win Over UMass Dartmouth

Cole Frilling works against a defender during the Spartans' win over UMass-Dartmouth

The Case Western Reserve University men's basketball team used a second half comeback to defeat UMass Dartmouth 90-83 at the Barry Health & Sports Center in Miami Shores, Florida on Thursday night as part of the 2019 HoopMIA D3 Holiday Shootout.

The Spartans claimed their fifth consecutive victory to push their record to 7-3, while the Corsairs fall to 7-4. The five-game winning streak is the longest for the Spartans since a stretch of five victories from January 21 – February 4, 2018.

First-year forward Cole Frilling had a career day for CWRU, recording his third career double-double and leading the team with a career-high 27 points and 10 rebounds. The 27 points are the most by a Spartan this season and the most since former Spartan T.J. Duckett scored 34 points against Mount St. Joseph on November 25, 2017. Senior forward Michael Hollis recorded his second consecutive double-double and the seventh of his career with 10 points and 16 rebounds.

The Spartans did not lead until Frilling made two free throws with 5:20 remaining in the game. The free throws capped a 15-4 CWRU run and gave the team a 73-71 advantage. Frilling was responsible for nine of the 15 points in the comeback.

Despite immediately losing the lead, Hollis made two free throws to put the Spartans back on top, 75-74. UMass Dartmouth then took a 78-77 lead with a breakaway layup. Junior guard Michael Volkening made two free throws and a jumper to put the Spartans back ahead and give the team a three-point lead with three minutes left in the contest. 

With 1:47 left in regulation, the Corsairs tied the game at 81. Junior guard Antonio Ionadi responded with a three-pointer to put the Spartans ahead for good 84-81. Frilling came up with a steal, his third of the night, and Ionadi made two free throws to make a two-possession game, 86-81, with 1:01 to play.

Despite a missed Frilling jumper, senior guard Sam Hansen collected a key offensive rebound to keep Spartan possession with 20 seconds left and a three-point lead. Case Western Reserve made its free throws to put the game away with a final score of 90-83. 

To start the game, UMass Dartmouth used an 11-2 run to open an early lead. A few minutes later, the Spartans cut the deficit to two, 16-14, on a three-pointer from sophomore guard Robert Faller. The Corsairs responded by opening a 12-point lead, 36-24, midway through the first half, their largest lead of the night.

Case Western Reserve then used a 10-2 run to cut the deficit to just four, 38-34, with five minutes remaining in the half. However, the Corsairs would not let the Spartans come back at that point, maintaining at least a four-point advantage for the rest of the half. At halftime, the score was 49-41.

Early in the second half, the Spartans cut the deficit to just two, 52-50. However, back-to-back three-pointers for UMass Dartmouth pushed its advantage to eight, 62-54 eight minutes into the half.

The Spartans would not go away and mounted the furious comeback. Frilling drained a three-pointer with under six minutes to play to tie the score at 71 and then gave the team its first lead with the free throws on the following possession.

Case Western Reserve outrebounded UMass Dartmouth 43-33. Frilling led a Spartan bench that outscored its Corsair counterparts 51-18.

The team will now take 16 days off for the holidays before their final non-conference game of the season on Saturday, January 4 at Albion College. Tipoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.