Road weekend brings heartache for men’s basketball

Team falls to 1-2 in UAA conference

J.P. O'Hagan, Staff Reporter

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Being away from home can often cause struggles for teams and the Case Western Reserve University men’s basketball team was no exception this past weekend.

Strong play from the Spartan leaders was not enough in both games of the weekend as Case fell to both Rochester University and Emory University. The Spartans now stand at 9-5 overall and are 1-2 in the UAA. This is the first multi-game losing streak for the Spartans and they are looking to bounce back this weekend at home. “Our team stuck together despite two tough road losses. We stayed positive and that will benefit us in future games,” said head coach Sean McDonnell.

The Spartans started the rough weekend dropping a heartbreaker Friday night to Rochester, losing by a score of 69-66. The Spartans exploded out of the gate scoring a season high 43 first half points. Case was up by as much as 14 midway through the game, but Rochester refused to go away and began chipping away at the Spartan lead piece by piece. The Yellowjackets had cut the lead to seven by halftime and they would carry over that momentum into the second half.

The Spartans were up by nine with just under 10 minutes to play when a 7-0 run by the Yellowjackets brought them back into a competitive position. The Spartans then went dark only managing five more points in the final 9:52. The Yellowjackets took the lead for good after a string of free throws to go up 66-65 with 2:13 left to play. The Spartans had a few opportunities to tie, but jumpers from Tim Chung and Julien Person fell short. Adding to the scoring drought, the typically strong bench was outscored 35-4 by the Yellowjackets. All Rochester had to do was hold on as the final attempt by the Spartans to inbound was deflected and the final 2.7 seconds ticked off the clock. “We had 61 points with 10 minutes to go in the game and only finished with 66,” said McDonnell. “Unfortunately, we stopped scoring late in the game.”

Sunday afternoon’s game in a much warmer climate still saw a similar cold finish from the once hot team, as the Spartans were crushed by Emory University in Atlanta. Chung’s solid 19 points lead the team but seemed like pocket change as Emory’s McPherson Moore roasted the Spartans with 31 points, with 21 of those points coming from behind the arc. The Eagles jumped out to a 22-9 lead by the 14-minute mark of the first half, but Case fought back with a 8-0 run to pull within five. Emory came back with a flourish of scoring and went up 50-40 at the half.

That momentum led to the onslaught of the second half. With just over 16 minutes left to play, the Eagles were up by 19 and the Spartans were unable to recover. The Spartans had four players with double-digit points, but a costly 18 turnovers, which lead to a 30-0 Emory fast break point advantage, which cost Case the game as the scoreboard flashed a disappointing 102-76 final. “Emory is talented,” McDonnell said, “We were down six with a minute to go in the half and gave up two critical three-point shots. If those didn’t happen and our deficit was four, the second half might have played out differently.”

The Spartans will look to rebound as they play their next four games at home starting Friday night against Washington University in St. Louis. Confident in their ability to get back on track, the team has worked hard to fix their mistakes of the past weekend and will treat it as a learning experience. The atmosphere hasn’t changed as the team gets set to fully enter the gruel of UAA play. “Each opponent is different. However, if we limit turnovers, that gives us a chance every game.” McDonnell said.