Barely two days after falling to No. 13 Emory University in Atlanta, the No. 25 Case Western Reserve men’s basketball team bounced back in a big way Sunday night, steamrolling University Athletic Association (UAA) rival, Rochester, 65-37 to move into sole possession of first place in the conference.
The win, which moved the Spartans to 13-3 (4-1 UAA), marks the first time this season that CWRU has been alone at the top of the UAA. With the win, the Spartans also won a road conference game for the first time since Feb. 17, 2013.
Spurred on by a career night from senior forward Brian Klements, the Spartans used a hot shooting night and a dominating defensive effort to overwhelm the Rochester Yellowjackets, who shot a slim 25.9 percent from the floor and were held to their lowest point total since 2001.
On the offensive side of the floor, CWRU caught fire from behind the arc (11-16 as a team) and never looked back from there. Klements led the way by scoring a career best 17 points on 7-10 shooting (including a perfect 3-3 from deep), and was supported by strong efforts from senior center Connor Edel (8 points, 5 rebounds) and senior guard Julien Person (9 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists).
The rout was so complete that the Spartans played their entire bench, subbing in nine reserves throughout the second half.
The win came after a tough road loss to highly ranked Emory University on Friday, where the Spartans hung around for the entire night but just could not overtake a resilient Eagles squad.
On the night however, senior team captain Dane McLoughlin broke the CWRU career record for three-pointers. Needing two to tie and three to break John Link’s decade old mark of 199, McLoughlin drilled five three-pointers from deep en route to 15 points. McLoughlin also became the first player in Spartan history to top the 200 mark, achieving what Link fell just short of years ago.
Now, undoubtedly, the team to beat in the UAA, the Spartans face a tough upcoming road weekend against Chicago (recently ranked No.21 before falling out of the top 25), and Washington (Mo.).
The same teams then visit Horsburgh Gymnasium the following week, where the Spartans, 8-0 at home, have yet to be defeated. Should CWRU emerge unscathed from these matchups, their position atop the UAA would be essentially unassailable for all intents and purposes—and virtually guarantee the Spartans a first-place conference finish. Still also much in play is the school record for wins in a season, which the Spartans need 4 more wins to break with 9 games left on the schedule.