Men’s basketball defeats WashU, falls to UChicago


Courtesy of CWRU Athletics

In CWRU’s victory against WashU, second-year forward Umar Rashid (pictured) breaks the program record with nine blocks.

Paola Van Der Linden Costello, Staff Writer

The Case Western Reserve University men’s basketball team hoped to make a comeback after losing their first two games of the season against conference opponents the University of Rochester and Emory University. CWRU Head Coach Todd McGuinness stressed that despite Rochester’s historical winning streak against CWRU, CWRU didn’t play well and missed crucial shots. In the loss against Emory, he said that, “It was nice to see us battle back but not the results we wanted.” He also acknowledged that “every game in this season is going to be a battle, but you got to win at home, that is what is going to come down to. You have to take care of your home court,” emphasizing how important the upcoming games against Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Chicago would be for this team. 



On Jan. 20 the energy at the Horsburgh Gymnasium was thrilling. With over 800 spectators, this was one of the highest turnouts for the men’s team this season. CWRU Cheer also made an appearance, and even Spartie watched from the sidelines. 

The pressure to win against the Bears was on and the Spartans did not disappoint. WashU could not keep up with CWRU’s energy, dynamic plays and defensive strategies. The Spartans took the lead with their first made shot by third-year guard, Luke Thorburn, and never looked back. The Bears tied the game 4-4, but graduate student guard Danny Frauhnheim made a layup in response. WashU struggled and failed to tie the score for the rest of the game.

The Spartans took their largest lead of the night of 29 points with 12:56 left in the game, when third-year forward Ian Elam made a jumper. Although the Spartans started the second half with a 21-point lead, their performance was nothing short of exhilarating. Amazing plays and shots kept the audience at the edge of their seats, cheering loudly for the Spartans. The support by CWRU students in this game was also incredible, and something the team greatly appreciated. 

Thorburn commented, “The energy in the gym last night lifted us. It was awesome to see so many students come out. It’s fun hearing how loud it can get in there. We really appreciate the support and need y’all to keep coming out throughout the rest of conference play.”

In the 90-75 CWRU win, second-year forward Umar Rashid shattered the program record with nine blocked shots in the game, including six in the first half. Daving Thompson held the previous record at seven blocks in 2013. Rashid finished the game with 7 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals. 

“It was a great way for our team to get back on track,” said Rashid. “Being able to set a school record in front of an amazing crowd was a great experience.”

Graduate student guard Mitch Prendergast led the game with 26 points on 70.6% shooting from the field, while Frauhnheim followed with 17 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds on 70% shooting. CWRU shot 37-63 (58.7%) on field goals and 7-23 (30.4%) on 3-point shots, significantly above their averages in the previous two losses. 



After an exciting win against WashU, the Spartans struggled to keep their momentum against UChicago on Sunday Jan. 22. Prendergast once again led the team with 25 points, but shot only 9-24 (37.5%) overall and 3-11 (27%) from beyond the arc. As a team, the Spartans shot 36.8% from the field, compared to the Maroons’ 47.5%, and made only 26.7% of their 3-pointers compared to UChicago’s 42.1%. Thorburn and Elam both led the team with 6 assists. The Spartans had a close first half, but ultimately faced an 8-point deficit by halftime. Despite team efforts, CWRU was unable to close the gap in the second half. UChicago took the 85-77 victory, their first conference win of the season, while leaving the Spartans with a 2-3 conference record and an overall 12-3. 


The men’s basketball team will hit the road and play Brandeis University (3-2 UAA) on Friday Jan. 27 and New York University (1-4 UAA) on Sunday Jan 29. We can expect this team to continue delivering exciting games and setting school records, as they did against Rochester. However, as Head Coach McGuiness stated, this is a tight conference and they will need to stand their ground against the upcoming teams if they want a chance at the NCAA championship like last season. 

Make sure to show your support by watching their games through CWRU’s which will take you to the corresponding streaming link for each game.