The Case Western Reserve University men’s basketball team returns home after winter break to host their first conference games of the season. They’ll play host to University Athletic Association foe Emory University today, Friday, Jan. 18, at 8 p.m. and University of Rochester on Sunday, Jan. 20, at noon.
The Spartans (8-6, 1-2) are coming off a two-game conference losing streak after winning their UAA opener 76-73 at Carnegie Mellon University. Last week they fell at New York University 75-58 and Brandeis University 77-58. Emory (9-4, 1-2) will come to Cleveland after dropping their first two conference games before winning in Atlanta over the University of Chicago on Sunday.
The key for the Spartans against Emory will be to limit the Eagles’ scoring opportunities. The Eagles boast the top offense in the UAA with a high-flying 84.9 points per game, well above fifth place Case’s 73.0. Unfortunately for the Spartans, they allow the most points per game in the UAA with 71.8. The flip side is that Emory is seventh in scoring defense with 70.2 points per game. Friday night’s game should be a high scoring affair and the Spartans will need to get off to a hot start to compete with the Eagles.
Leading the way for the Spartans is senior captain Austin Fowler who is third in the conference in scoring with 16.9 points per game. In addition to being one of the top scorers in the UAA he’s also the top rebounder with 8.8 boards per game. Fowler’s ability to dominate in the paint has been a key part of the Spartans strong start to the season. He is currently second in the conference in offensive rebounds with 2.5 per game.
Helping Fowler provide the bulk of the Spartan offense is sophomore forward Dane McLoughlin, whose 14.1 points per game are second on the team and eighth in the UAA. McLoughlin is shooting a remarkable 60 percent from behind the arc, tops in Division III.
The Spartans defense may be the worst in the UAA, but there’s one category that they excel in, blocking. Case currently leads the nation with 6.9 blocks per game, over a half block higher than the second place school, and doubling the Eagles’ 3.4. Leading the team in shots swatted are 6’7’’ sophomore guard Julien Person, who averages 2.14 blocks a game, and 28th in the nation and 6’9’’ junior center David Thompson, who posts two blocks per game. Thompson is tied for 33rd in the nation. McLoughlin and sophomore Brian Klements both average .9 blocks per game, which is tied for fifth in the UAA.
Looking to match Fowler and McLoughlin for the Eagles are the second and sixth ranked scorers in the UAA. Jake Davis is averaging 18.7 points per game to go along with 6.8 rebounds, while Alex Greven is posting 15.8 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. The Spartans will also have to contend with Eagles Michael Freidberg and McPherson Moore, who both average over double digit points per game.
The Eagles topped the Spartans in both meetings last year, winning by 105-71 in Cleveland and 70-59 in Atlanta. The game will tipoff at 8 p.m. in the Horsburgh Gymnasium in the Veale Center.
Case will also host Rochester on Sunday, tipoff at noon.