Men’s basketball 11-game win streak ends in UAA play


Courtesy of CWRU Athletics

Fourth-year forward Cole Frilling scores 16 points in a game against Carnegie Mellon University, reaching 1,000 career points and becoming the 20th player in CWRU’s history to achieve such a milestone.

Paola Van Der Linden Costello, Contributing Writer

The Case Western Reserve University men’s basketball team continued to break school records after finishing their non-conference play undefeated 10-0. Graduate student guard Mitch Prendergast missed the first eight games of the season due to injury but came back strong, leading the team with 23 points in their game against Hilbert University on Sunday, Jan 1. The final non-conference game at Buffalo State College, scheduled for Jan. 4, was canceled due to weather conditions.

The team, ranked No. 10 at the time, started their UAA conference play strong with their win against Carnegie Mellon University 74-69 on Saturday Jan. 7. Third-year forward Ian Elam, recorded the first double-double of his career, leading the team with 21 points and 11 rebounds while shooting 76% from the field. 

In a post game interview, Elam attributed his success on the court to his teammates, saying, “It’s exciting, I was getting the ball in the right places, Danny created so many great looks for me and the ball just kept going in.”

Elam has had an amazing trajectory with CWRU’s basketball team, leaving the bench to become a starting player this season. Elam discussed how an unfortunate injury ended third-year forward Hunter Drenth’s season and opened a spot for Elam to “step in” for his team. Fourth-year forward Cole Frilling attributes Elam’s success to his hard-working nature. Frilling notes that Elam is “one of the hardest working players on our team without question.” 

Frilling himself scored 16 points to become the 20th player in program history to reach 1,000 career points. Completed in only 63 games, Frilling is the second fastest in school history to achieve this victory. Frilling finished the game shooting 7-13 overall and 8 rebounds, getting his 16th point hitting a free throw with 38 seconds left. 

Frilling has been noted as an inspiration for everyone on the team, having had great seasons since his first year. Elam discusses how Frilling “is such an example for everybody else in the team.” The dynamic between Frilling and Elam is also one full of hard-work and determination, where Frilling notes that Elam “pushes me and I like pushing him too” during practice to see the amazing performance that we saw during this game.

The then No. 7 Spartans ended their 11-0 streak during their next two conference games against No. 9 University of Rochester and No. 16 Emory University, staying one win away from the longest winning stretch in program history. After both losses the Spartans are now 1-2 in their UAA conference game mark. They also lost their spot in the top 10 from d3hoops, dropping to No. 19 following the losses.  

The Rochester stands were packed with students rooting against CWRU’s basketball team on the night of Friday, Jan. 13. During their game, graduate student guard Danny Frauenheim led the team with 21 points along with second-year forward Umar Rashid. This was not enough to secure the win, as the team overall struggled to make their shots, shooting 26-66 overall compared to Rochester’s 32-59. Their 3-pointer efficiency was also low, hitting only 22.7%. The score remained close during the first half, but Rochester maintained the lead for most of the game. The Spartans had a 7-0 run with 4:46 minutes left before halftime, but the Yellow Jackets stole their momentum with a 17-3 run to finish the first half 42-32. 

The second half was even more difficult for the Spartans, as they found themselves in a 24-point hole with 8:37 left on the clock. A CWRU comeback attempt cut the deficit to 14 with 4:18 left in the game after Elam made a jump shot and a free throw, but the team was unable to pull it off. The final score stood at 69-85. 

CWRU was put in a similar situation against Emory on Sunday Jan. 15, but once again their attempts failed, as the Spartans lost in overtime 81-90. The Eagles led the entire first half and went to halftime with a 41-31 lead. 

In the fourth quarter, the Spartans took the 61-60 lead after Prendergast made a jump shot with 9:38 seconds left of the second half. Emory tied it at 70-70 with 3:27 left after a 5-0 run. The Eagles stole back the lead 75-73 but with 7 seconds left, Prendergast hit a jump shot to push the game into overtime. 

During these five extra minutes, the Spartans struggled to score, and the Eagles took the game 90-81.

After two difficult games, the Spartans hope to bounce back during their upcoming home games on Friday, Jan. 20 against Washington University in St. Louis (3-0 in UAA) and on Sunday, Jan. 22 against the University of Chicago (0-3). Despite their losing streak, this team has continued to impress and is still one of the top contenders for their UAA conference. No team is expected to reach their conference with as many wins as Emory University did last year. It will be a close race against some of the highest performing teams in the NCAA Division III.