Men’s basketball sweep Brandeis, NYU on the road


Courtesy of CWRU Athletics

Third-year guard Luke Thorburn helped bring the Spartans to victory in a close game against NYU.

Paola Van der Linden Costello, Staff Writer

The Case Western Reserve University men’s basketball team faced Brandeis University on Jan. 27 and New York University on Jan. 29 for their sixth and seventh games in UAA conference play. After a hard loss against the University of Chicago last week, the Spartans bounced back with a dominant 91-71 win against Brandeis and a 88-82 thriller victory over NYU. 

Against Brandeis, the Spartans had great ball movement and incredible shooting accuracy, leaving the Judges struggling to catch up. During the first half, the team scored 27 points from 3-pointers alone. The ball just kept going in, with CWRU shooting 64.5% from the field and 75% from the 3-point line. During the first 10 minutes, it seemed like the game might be a close one, with the Spartans leading by two with 9:50 remaining in the first half. However, after second-year forward Umar Rashid made a 3-pointer, the Spartans went on a 13-2 run to go up 38-25 with 6:32 left to go. After two minutes, three more successful shots, one by Rashid and two by third-year forward Daniel Florey, ballooned the lead to 46-27. By the end of the first half, the Spartans were up 14 points and leading the game with 16 rebounds and 10 defensive rebounds, compared to 8 rebounds and 5 defensive rebounds from the Judges. 

The second half was not much better for Judges. Although they managed to cut the deficit to 10 points with 16:54 remaining, the Spartans quickly responded after a timeout called by head coach Todd McGuinness. Florey made a layup with 7:16 remaining, putting CWRU up 24 points at 81-57, the highest lead of this game. The night ended with first-year guard Anand Dharmarajan making a jump shot for a 91-71 win for the Spartans. 

CWRU led every major statistic, collecting 33 total rebounds compared to Brandeis’ 18, 20 assists to 10 and shooting an overall 68.2% on 3-pointers and 61% from the field goal range. This team always wows the audience with their offense and this game was no different. Their 3-point accuracy was the second highest in program history where the team attempted at least 10 shots. Their field goal percentage was also a season-high for the Spartans. 

After a successful game in Boston, the Spartans traveled to New York City to face the NYU Violets. CWRU had a rough start, with the Violets going on a 9-0 run within the first five minutes of the game. Rashid managed to put the Spartans on the board with a layup, but they still struggled to keep up with NYU. 

With 12:07 left on the clock for the first half, the Spartans were down by 10 and the odds looked pretty grim. They proceeded to go on a 8-0 run, 2 points away from tying the game but the Violets were relentless. With 7:06 minutes left in the first half, the Violets re-established their dominant lead to 27-15. It was only after Florey made a 3-point jump shot off an assist by third-year forward Ian Elam that the Spartans started getting their momentum back. With Rashid’s defensive rebound and fourth-year forward Cole Frilling’s conversion of 2 points through a layup, the Spartans tied the game 29-29 with 1:36 left to go. It seemed like the Violets were going to finish the first half up a point when, with three seconds left on the clock, Frilling got an offensive rebound off of a missed 3-pointer and made a jumper to put the Spartans ahead 33-32 at the halftime buzzer. 

The Spartans never lost their lead in the second half. The closest the Violets got was with a score of 42-41 after NYU player Clark Quinn made a layup. With 6:08 left in the game, Elam made two free throws to extend CWRU’s lead to 11 points. Despite this lead, NYU fought until the very last second. With 1:28 left in the game and a 10-point difference, the Violets made a push to tie the game. After graduate guard Mitch Prendergast split a pair of free throws, NYU hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 8. With 51 seconds left in the game, the Violets managed to score 9 points but it was not enough, as the Spartans came home with the 88-82 win. 

Florey was excited about what this win meant for the team and said, “It was a great trip to bounce back after a tough loss and get two huge wins to put us in great position in both the UAA and the NCAA tournament.

With these two wins, CWRU are No. 3 in the UAA, with a 4-3 conference record.

The team will host Brandeis on Friday, Feb. 3 at 7:30 pm and NYU on Sunday, Feb. 5 at 12:00 p.m. in the Horsburgh Gymnasium.