Men’s Basketball Upsets No. 25 Brandeis on Throwback Weekend

Men’s Basketball Upsets No. 25 Brandeis on Throwback Weekend

Behind 21 points from junior guard Antonio Ionadi, the Case Western Reserve University men's basketball team upset 25th-ranked Brandeis University 84-76 on Friday night at historic Adelbert Gymnasium in Cleveland, Ohio. The Spartans improve to 10-9 on the season and 3-5 in the University Athletic Association. The Judges fall to 14-5 overall and 6-2 in the UAA.

For the Spartans, it is their second win over a team currently ranked in the D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll this season, with the first over now 19th-ranked Centre on November 9.

Ionadi made eight of his 13 shots, including five-of-eight from three-point range. Sophomore guard Robert Faller scored 18 points on six-of-11 shooting and made five-of-seven from the free throw line. Junior guard Ignas Masiulionis scored 14 points, all of which came in the second half, while sophomore forward Ryan Newton added 13 points and eight rebounds. Leading the team with 11 rebounds was senior forward Michael Hollis.

After seeing an early second-half lead cut to just one with 8:48 left in the game, Masiulionis led the Spartans on a 10-0 run over the next 5:18 to take an 11-point lead and secure the upset. During the run, Masiulionis scored six of the 10 Spartan points. CWRU maintained its lead over the final 3:30, even though Brandeis cut its deficit to five, 75-70 with 1:11 remaining. Case Western Reserve responded with a three-pointer from Ionadi to pull ahead by eight with 46 seconds remaining. Brandeis converted on its next possession, but the Spartans made free throws at the end of the game to clinch the win.

At the beginning of the game, a three-point play from Faller capped an early 9-4 run for the Spartans. A few minutes later, Ionadi scored his 10th point of the night with a three-pointer to put the Spartans up nine, 17-8. Faller added layups on two straight possessions, and CWRU led by 11 just nine minutes into the first half. Brandeis cut the CWRU lead to just seven with under six minutes to go in the first half.

A three-pointer from junior guard Michael Volkening extended the Spartans' lead to double digits with three minutes remaining in the half. Faller added a three-pointer of his own to put Case Western Reserve ahead by 13. The Spartans ended the half up 39-31, with Ionadi and Faller combining for 22 of the team's points in the half.

The Judges used a 13-5 run to tie the score at 44 four minutes into the second half, but the Spartans responded with four straight points to go back on top. A three-pointer seven minutes into the second half gave Brandeis its first lead of the night. Masiulionis responded with a three-pointer of his own to put the Spartans up one, but the Judges converted on their end to reclaim the lead, 52-51.

On the next three possessions, the teams traded baskets and the lead, with CWRU up 55-54 with 11:30 to go. Masiulionis scored five straight Spartan points to extend the lead to six midway through the second half. After the Judges cut the deficit to just one, the Spartans went on their 10-0 run to take a commanding lead and the win.

As part of Throwback Weekend celebrating the history of the University, the Spartans wore the jerseys of the Western Reserve University Red Cats on Friday night. WRU was one of the schools that later became Case Western Reserve University.

The Spartans wrap up Throwback Weekend on Sunday, February 9, when the team welcomes NYU to historic Adelbert Gymnasium. Tipoff is scheduled for noon.