Spartan Men Prevail Over Rochester 88-87 in Overtime

Monty Khela dribbles the basketball for the Spartans.

For the second straight time, the Case Western Reserve University and University of Rochester men's basketball teams needed more than 40 minutes to decide a winner. This time, on Friday night at Horsburgh Gymnasium in Cleveland, Ohio, the Spartans emerged victorious, 88-87 in overtime, improving to 12-11 on the season and 5-7 in the University Athletic Association. The Yellowjackets, who won the first contest between the teams earlier in the season in overtime at home, fell to 15-8 and 6-6 in the UAA.

Sophomore guard Robert Faller scored 14 points, all in the second half or overtime, including three free throws in the final 17 seconds of overtime to secure the win. He added six assists and collected four rebounds. Leading all scorers with 24 points was first-year forward Cole Frilling, who also collected a team-high nine rebounds. In a return to the starting five, senior guard Monty Khela scored a season-high 20 points. Senior forward Michael Hollis added 13 points and six rebounds, while sophomore forward Ryan Newton scored six points and collected seven rebounds.

The Spartans overcame a 14-point first half deficit, and with 33.7 seconds left in regulation, Faller made a jumper in the lane to give CWRU a 76-75 lead. With 25.8 seconds left in the second half, Rochester made two free throws to take a one-point advantage, 77-76. On the following possession, a jumper from Frilling hit the rim, but he was fouled with 2.0 seconds left in regulation after collecting the offensive rebound. After missing his first free throw attempt, he converted the second to tie the score at 77 and send the contest to overtime.

The Yellowjackets opened the extra period with a 6-1 run. Frilling made two free throws and a three-pointer to tie the game with 1:30 to go in overtime. With 1:10 left, Rochester made a free throw to go up by one. Khela followed with a jumper with 52.4 seconds left to put the Spartans on top, 85-84. After stopping the Yellowjackets, Faller made a free throw to extend the Spartan lead to two with 20.0 seconds remaining. A potential go-ahead three-pointer from Rochester missed and Faller collected the rebound. He then made a pair of free throws to put the Spartans ahead by four with 2.6 seconds left to clinch the victory.

Despite trailing by as many as 14 points early in the first half and by eight points at half time, the Spartans battled throughout the game to close the deficit. Three minutes into the second half, a three-pointer from Khela capped a 16-5 Spartan run to give CWRU its first lead since the opening minute, 47-44. Rochester responded and regained the advantage with a pair of free throws. Frilling stopped a 6-0 Yellowjackets' run and tied the game at 50 with a three-point play. The Yellowjackets took a seven-point lead, 61-54, with an 11-4 run and 7:32 left in regulation.

With five minutes to go in regulation, the Spartans trailed by six, 67-61. Four straight points from Faller cut the Rochester advantage to two. The Yellowjackets went ahead by five, 72-67, with under three minutes left in the game. After a layup from Hollis and a stop on the defensive end, Khela made a three-pointer to put the Spartans within one, 75-74, with 1:23 remaining, and setting up the late-game back-and-forth, that eventually sent the contest into overtime.

The Spartans outrebounded the Yellowjackets 38-37 in the contest and scored 21 points off turnovers to the Yellowjackets' 10. CWRU finished the game shooting 45.6% overall, including 41.7% from behind the three-point line.

On Sunday, February 23, Case Western Reserve will host No. 8 Emory for their final home game of the season. Before the noon tipoff, the team will celebrate its three graduating members—Hollis, Khela, and guard Sam Hansen—as part of "Senior Day."