On A Roll

Spartans start out season strong

Aaron Shang, Contributing Reporter

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A month into the young basketball season, the Case Western Reserve University men have already reeled off a string of impressive victories. Sporting a 5-1 record—the lone blemish being an 87-74 setback at Denison—the Spartans have shown great potential on both ends of the court, while also exhibiting a remarkable willingness to share the ball. Seniors Dane McLoughlin and Julien Person have been particularly impressive, both recently earning all-tournament honors at the DoubleTree Invitational tournament. Spurred by their efforts, the team has averaged over 85 points per game on 48 percent shooting—a pace that is sure to put rival squads on notice.

Still unbeaten at home, Case has been virtually unstoppable offensively. In winning both games at the DoubleTree Invitational, the Spartans put up 102 points per game with a 21.5 point average margin of victory; in both cases, the team dominated from start to finish. Against Penn State Beaver, five Spartans reached double figures as Case shot white-hot—over 50% from the floor including a barrage of three-pointers—and recorded its highest point total (107) in nearly a decade. Head coach Sean McDonnell has also been pleased with this recent style of basketball, noting that the Spartans “….will always defend, rebound and share the ball,” a fact that has been evident in every game so far this season.

The first six games have also seen a few impressive individual achievements by Spartan players. Against Wilmington College, senior captain McLoughlin became the 19th player in CWRU history to surpass the 1,000-point mark, while also collecting the Stephanie Tubbs-Jones Tournament MVP award. In the same game, freshman forward Eric Black also cemented his first-ever all-tournament team appearance by scoring a career-high 22 points on 9-10 shooting. This past week, the Spartans wrapped up a highly successful weekend at the Doubletree Invitational with McLoughlin and playmaking senior guard Person garnering all-tournament honors. For the rest of the season, McLoughlin is also poised to chase down numerous spots on CWRU all-time lists, including points, three-pointers and rebounds.

The Spartans head out onto the road for the next two games against Adrian College (Dec. 6) and Bucknell University (Dec. 9) before returning to the friendly confines of Horsburgh Gymnasium for the Bill Sudeck Holiday Tournament (Dec. 29-30). Conference play begins on Jan. 10 at arch-rival Carnegie Mellon, a game that the Spartans have surely had circled on their calendars since fall practices first began.