Men’s basketball struggles at home against UAA talent

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Men’s basketball struggles at home against UAA talent

Jake Lavis drives past a Washington University at St. Louis defender this past weekend.

Jake Lavis drives past a Washington University at St. Louis defender this past weekend.

Andrew Hodowanec / Observer

Jake Lavis drives past a Washington University at St. Louis defender this past weekend.

Andrew Hodowanec / Observer

Andrew Hodowanec / Observer

Jake Lavis drives past a Washington University at St. Louis defender this past weekend.

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The Case Western Reserve University men’s basketball team suffered a tough week, losing both conference games against Washington University in St. Louis and University of Chicago. The losses were the first in the University Athletic Association (UAA) for the team this season as they fell to 1-2 in the conference.

In the first game Friday against Wash U, the team lost 96-80. The story of the night was the abysmal shooting by the Spartans. The team shot 39.5 percent for the game while the Bears shot an impressive 52.7 percent. This game was a fight throughout the first half, with the Spartans repeatedly cutting the Bears’ lead to a single digit before the Bears would push back and force a double digit lead.

Fourth-year student and guard Jimmy Holman added five assists to go along with 18 points and is now just 12 assists shy of the program’s record in a career. Fourth-year student Matt Clark once again had a productive game, scoring 16 points and tallying four assists, four rebounds and five steals. With 17:59 to play, the team had cut the lead down to six thanks to a jumper from Clark. It wouldn’t lead to much, however, as the Bears went on an 8-0 run to grow the lead to 14 and they never looked back. The Spartans were never able to cut the lead down to single digits again.

In the team’s second game against U Chicago, their play didn’t get significantly better. The Spartans lost to the Maroons 112-100. The key stat of the game was the rebounding advantage by the Maroons, which led the game in rebounding 53-37. This is a good indicator of why the Spartans gave up 28 second chance points in the contest compared to just 18 for the Maroons.

The team stayed in the game in the first half by shooting 11-20 from the three point line and led 54-51 at halftime. The first half featured 10 different lead changes as the teams battled evenly back and forth. Near the beginning of the second half, however, U Chicago began to show why they had won 10 straight games coming in.

The Maroons took a lead with about 10 minutes to go and, right when the Spartans looked to be mounting a comeback, Chicago pushed the lead to 17 with just under seven minutes left, effectively sealing the game as the Spartans would never cut the lead down to single digits again. Holman registered 10 assists in the game and is now just two shy of tying the all time record for the program.

Third-year student Javier Alvarez led the Spartans in scoring with 20 points. The Maroons have now won 11 straight and are in sole possession of first place in the UAA with a 3-0 record. When asked about the loss and the huge rebounding margin, Spartan head coach Sean McDonnell said, “We’ve been doing a great job on the offensive glass and need that aggressive mindset to transfer to defensive rebounding as well.” The Spartans posted a -1 in the offensive rebounding category.

The Spartans had a tough week, but have the opportunity to bounce back with games against the University of Rochester and Emory University next week. Both games are on the road. McDonnell, when asked about his team’s performance and expectations noted, “Our guys are resilient and will give a great effort in our upcoming games.” Let’s hope the Spartans can get some victories this weekend.