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Men’s basketball defeats La Roche, Denison to earn 4-game win streak

Courtesy of Tim Phillis/CWRU Athletics
After leading the CWRU men’s basketball team to two wins against La Roche and Dension, graduate student guard Anthony Mazzeo was named UAA Athlete of the Week.

Spartan fans were excited to see the Case Western Reserve University men’s basketball team back on the court for a new season. After hosting and winning the Bill Sudeck Tournament, they traveled to La Roche University and Denison University remaining undefeated on the season with two wins and improving to 4-0 overall. This also extends their non-conference win streak to 24 consecutive contests. These wins have placed them ninth in the Top 25 through the games of Nov. 26. Their performance also awarded graduate student guard Anthony Mazzeo to be awarded the UAA Athlete of the Week.

In their game against LaRoche on Nov. 15, the Spartans took the lead after two consecutive 3-pointers, one from graduate guard Richie Manigault and another by Mazzeo with 17:25 left on the clock for the first half. They maintained the lead for the rest of the game. Overall, the team shot 38.4% from the field goal range, 35.5% from the 3-point line and 78.6% from the free throw. Mazzeo led the game scoring 29 points and had 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Third-year guard Sam Trunley notched his first double-double of the season and his collegiate career, adding 15 points and 11 rebounds. Manigault also added 10 points. With consistent shots and excellent ball movement, the Spartans dominated the Redhawks on the court, obtaining their largest lead of the night of 23 points after second-year forward Aaron Rucker added a layup. The game ended with a missed jumper from La Roche with six seconds left that gave the Spartans a win of 78-58.

After securing a win in Pittsburgh, the Spartans traveled to Granville, Ohio to face Denison University on Nov. 18. The game against Denison was a nail-biter that went into overtime. There were 14 lead changes and 10 ties. The game started with a jumper made by fourth-year guard Luke Thorburn, a play that was quickly reciprocated by a 3-pointer by Deninson. The Spartans quickly responded with a layup from graduate student forward Colin Kahl and a 3-point shot by Mazzeo to give the Spartans a 4 point lead with 16:46 left on the clock in the first half.

Denison’s strong defense made it difficult for the Spartans to maintain a large lead. CWRU was only 4 points up at any given time during this first half, the last moment after a good dunk by Manigault with 5:51 left. However, Denison maintained their ground and managed to tie the score with 2:33 left in the game. A dunk followed by another good 3-pointer from Denison gave them the 34-31 lead at the end of the half. The Spartans only shot 23.08% (3-13) from the 3-point range in this first half, particularly low for a team that had averaged 35.97% in the first three games of their non-conference play. Additionally, Denison averaged 41.67% (5-12) during the first half.

The second half of this game was equally as exciting. 16 seconds into the clock, a good 3-pointer by Manigault tied the score at 34-34, but was quickly reciprocated by another 3-pointer by Denison’s Kellon Smith. However, Mazzeo managed to tie the game with another successful 3-pointer.

The Spartans finally obtained the first lead of the second half after two free throw shots by Thorburn, a lead that was shortly lived after a free throw by the opposing team tied the game once again. Still, CWRU’s team did not lose their stamina and they managed to take the lead after a layup by Kahl with 15:33 left in the game. The Spartans obtained their largest lead of the night after completing 4 free throws and another layup by Kahl, putting them up by 6 with 12:27 left in the lock.

Denison did not give up and they tied the game with 10:33 left and obtained a 3-point lead shortly after. No team maintained the lead for a long period of time, but with 4:09 left in the game, a good layup by the opposing team left the Spartans down for the rest of the time in the second half. With 41 seconds left in the game, two free throws by Denison player Ricky Radtke had the Spartans down by three points.

However, a successful layup by Mazzeo and a foul allowed the team to gain three points to tie the game with 28 seconds left and place this game into overtime. The team improved their 3-point average to 27.27% (3-11) in the second half and shot 45.45% (10-22) from the field goal range, compared to Deninson’s 33.33% (3-9) and 46.15% (12-26), respectively.

Although we saw this game have several lead changes and solid game play from both sides, the Spartans took the lead with a layup by Trunley and maintained this lead until the end of the overtime period. Trunley added 1 more point, Mazzeo added 5 and Manigault 2, ending the game at 80-74 giving the Spartans an exhilarating win. Mazzeo led all players with 25 points and added 3 rebounds and 1 assist. Manigault added 17 points and 6 rebounds and Kahl added 16 points and 7 rebounds. Thorburn and Trunley also added 8 points each. The team shot 47.3% from the field goal range, 24% from the 3-point line and 73.3% from the free throw.

The Spartans will be facing Kalamazoo College in the Horsburgh Gymnasium on Dec. 2 at 3 p.m. Historically, the Spartans have won the last two games against Kalamazoo, winning by 35 points the previous season.


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