Men’s basketball looks to rebound after tough weekend away

The Case Western Reserve University Men’s Basketball team had another tough weekend, dropping two games to University of Rochester and Emory University. The Spartans have now lost four straight games and are an even 8-8 on the season.

One bright spot for the team was fourth-year student and guard Jimmy Holman becoming the all-time CWRU assists leader in the loss to Rochester. Holman broke the record held by former Spartan Jim Fox (1993-97). He now has 409 assists for his career. Fox previously held the record with 403.

The Spartans were handily defeated against the YellowJackets on Friday night, 79-108. The YellowJackets started the game strong, opening a 23-9 lead with under 13:00 left to play. Holman accumulated a team-high of five assists while also adding 13 points, as the Spartans fought back to within 10 points on multiple occasions throughout the first half.

A three-point barrage from second-year student and guard Colin Zucker and second-year student and forward David Black brought the Spartans to within 46-40 with 2:44 left in the half, but the YellowJackets pulled away to open a 12 point advantage at halftime. Zucker led CWRU scorers with 18 points, in large part to his perfect four-for-four from beyond the three point line and Black chipped in 17 points largely due to his five three-point field goals made.

After the YellowJackets opened a big lead to start the second game, the game was largely over as the Spartans would not get closer than 18 points for the rest of the game. The key stat for this game was the Spartan’s poor shooting. The team shot a mediocre 34.3 percent for the game as compared to a solid 45.0 percent for the YellowJackets. Head Coach Sean McDonnell, when asked about Holman’s achievement, said,“ He’s a really special player and a better teammate.”

In their second contest of the weekend against Emory, the Spartans played a much more competitive game that was close until the very end. The Spartans lost 82-86 despite a valiant effort by fourth-year student and guard Matt Clark. Clark led CWRU with 22 points and a team-high of five assists to go along with four steals. It was a wild back and forth game with neither team able to hold on to a lead for very long.

The Spartans went into the first half down four thanks to a three-point shot by third-year student and guard Javier Alvarez, who scored 15 points in the contest. A quick start to the second half put the Eagles up by 15 points with 14:40 to play.

The Spartans showed grit, however, and were eventually only down 65-63 with 8:39 to play. When the Spartan deficit grew once again, the team answer by going on another big run and actually leading late in the contest thanks to a 14-3 run.

In a pivotal play, Clark stole an inbounds pass with :42 remaining and was fouled as he hit the layup. That three-point play put the Spartans up one. A timely three pointer by Emory was the undoing for the Spartans as they were unable to hit their final shots and the game slipped away. Despite the loss, the Spartans were led on the day by second-year student and forward Eric Black earned his second double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

McDonnell, when asked how the Spartans can turn their season around, said, “We will continue to play like we did in Atlanta with great trust, passion and energy.”

The Spartans will travel to Brandeis University Friday, Jan. 29 to face the Judges.