Men’s basketball falls just short
Loses twice in close home games
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Back in the day, the real-life Spartans didn’t lose very many battles. But during Throwback Weekend the Case Western Reserve University men’s basketball team did. They lost both games at home against the University of Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis. The weekend losses increased the Spartans losing streak to seven games as they fell to 5-13 overall and 0-7 in the University Athletic Association.
In their first contest of the weekend against Chicago, the Spartans stormed out of the gate, building a 14-point lead about midway through the half. Chicago fought back however, coming to within one point with under three minutes to go in the first half. Ultimately the Spartans would hold their lead and go into the break with a 41-37 lead.
The Spartans shot the ball exceptionally well in the half, making 50 percent of their field goal attempts and 46 percent from beyond the three-point line. Third-year guard Colin Zucker and third-year forward Eric Black led CWRU in the half in points, with each registering 10.
In the second half, neither team was able to get a large lead on the other and it came down to the final few minutes of play.
First-year forward Connor Nally hit a crucial three to put the Spartans up two with a minute and a half left to play, but Chicago answered that with a three of their own on the next possession. As the clock ticked down to under 30 seconds, Zucker was the next Spartan to step up, hitting a layup and giving the team a one-point lead. Once again, Chicago responded with a score of their own. Finally, the Spartans, thanks to third-year forward David Black, were able to convert one more time with just seconds remaining and held a one point lead.
The Maroons had time for just one more play. Off an inbounds pass, Chicago third-year guard Jake Fenlon attempted a stepback three-pointer as time expired. The attempt was good and Chicago walked away with a win.
CWRU was unable to score with the same efficiency in the second half. Their field goal percentage dropped to 40 percent, and they only shot 2-for-10 on three-point attempts. The Spartans were also outrebounded 47-35 in the contest.
In the second contest the team was defeated by Washington University 88-77. The first half was the tale of two stories for the Spartans. After struggling out of the gate, the Spartans found themselves down 27-11 about eight minutes into the game. The Spartans would fight back, however, and cut the Bears’ lead to just four, 44-40. The 16-4 run to bring the Spartans back was led by Nally, who had eight points in the stretch. In the second half the Spartans started off strong, taking their first lead of the game at 45-44. The Spartans would not be able to hold that lead, however, as they once again found themselves down in the second half. The Spartans would, however, go on one last run to fight back.
WIth just under four minutes to play, third-year forward T.J. Duckett, who had 21 points along with an impressive 14 rebounds, hit a key shot for the Spartans to put them up 75-73. A three-pointer by Washington put them back up one and the team would hit free throws the rest of the way to end the game.
When asked on how to improve his team’s recent struggles, Head Coach Todd McGuinness said, “We need to be able to finish games. We have been right there but haven’t finished the game. We need to compete and play hard, and we should be in a close one.”
The Spartans play Friday, Feb. 3 at 9 p.m. in a rematch against Chicago on their home floor.