Spartan men’s basketball drops both weekend games on the road


Naji Saker

Ryan Newton goes for a layup against JCU.

Gaurav Hardikar, Staff Reporter

With just three games left in the season for the Case Western Reserve University men’s basketball team, the outlook for their record remains uncertain as it continues to waver around .500. The Spartans fell to an even 11 wins and 11 losses after losing both of their road games this weekend, including a 77-71 loss to Washington University in St. Louis and an 80-61 loss to the University of Chicago.

Despite leading by four points at the half, the Spartans were unable to keep up with the WashU Bears, who outscored CWRU 38-28 in the second half to seal the 6-point win on Friday, Feb. 14. Second-year Ryan Newton and first-year Cole Frilling, both forwards, led the scoring efforts for the Spartans. Newton scored the most points in the game, dropping 20 points on 64.3% shooting and Frilling scored 15 points on 54.5% shooting, including a game-high three 3-pointers. On top of that, fourth-year forward Michael Hollis nearly notched a double-double, with 9 points and 10 rebounds.

However, despite these three notable efforts from the Spartan forwards, the Bears still finished on top behind solid performances from DeVaughn Rucker (17/6/1/0/2) and Jack Nolan (18/5/3/0/2). Though the Spartans did a better job of limiting their turnovers (11 to the Bears’ 16) and spreading the ball around (22 assists to the Bears’ 16), WashU had the upper hand in essentially every other category, recording 12 more rebounds, one more steal and five fewer personal forwards while shooting 4.9% better overall, 0.7% better from 3-point range and 16.7% better from the 3-point line. The Bears were able to dominate in rebounds and made 10 more free throws on 14 more attempts than the Spartans, which proved to be the difference-maker in just a 6-point game.

Determined to make up for the loss that broke their three-game winning streak, the Spartans traveled to Chicago for the Sunday game. Unfortunately, the University of Chicago Maroons had different plans and beat CWRU even worse. The Spartans struggled in every category except from downtown, as they shot 34.8% from the three (4.4% better than the Maroons). Their shooting percentage sat at a disappointing 35.7% (11.7% worse than the Maroons) and they were outdueled in free-throw shooting percentage, rebounds, assists and steals as well. The Maroons capitalized on the turnover and personal foul differentials and were also bolstered by strong performances from Brandon Beckman, Dominic Laravie and Brennan McDaniel, who combined for an outstanding 56 of the Maroons’ 80 points. Second-year guard Robert Faller seemed to be the only Spartan who could keep up with the Maroons on the scoring end, as Faller scored 18 points on 53.3% shooting. Frilling (nine points) and third-year guard Antonio Ionadi (10 points) each grabbed seven boards in their well-balanced performances, but the Spartans once again fell short against UChicago.

The Spartans entered the weekend with an 11-9 overall record and a 4-5 conference record. Though the two losses did not do a lot of damage to their overall record, it was detrimental to their conference record (now 4-7) as they fell to sixth in the UAA, ahead of only Carnegie Mellon University and New York University. The three remaining games in the season are all conference games for CWRU, meaning they could improve to an even 7-7 in the conference at best.

The Spartans will seek revenge at home against the University of Rochester Yellow Jackets and the Emory University Eagles later this week. The Yellow Jackets defeated CWRU in an overtime thriller back in January and the Eagles blew the Spartans out two days later, 106-70. Though the Eagles currently sit atop the conference, the Spartans are determined to end their season on a high note.