Men’s basketball wins 2024 UAA championship, second ever in program history
The CWRU mens basketball team finishes the UAA season tied for first place with New York University, winning the UAA title for the second year in a row.
The CWRU men’s basketball team finishes the UAA season tied for first place with New York University, winning the UAA title for the second year in a row.
Courtesy of CWRU Athletics

With a thrilling win in Horsburgh Gymnasium over Carnegie Mellon University on Feb. 24, Case Western Reserve University men’s basketball captured their second-straight UAA Championship (sharing it with New York University, as both teams finished the year at 10-4 in UAA play) and claimed the league’s automatic bid to the 2024 NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.

CWRU will be making their third appearance in the tournament in program history, with all three having come in the last three years. The NCAA also awarded the Spartans hosting rights through at least the second round of the tournament. CWRU will take on Mary Baldwin University this Friday evening, March 1 at 7:15 p.m. Before that game at 4:45 p.m., Horsburgh will host a matchup between Hope College and Anderson University. The victors of the two games will face off in the second round the next day, Saturday, March 2 at 7:15 p.m.

As a result of their incredible regular season, finishing with a 21-4 record that matched the most regular season wins in program history, the Spartans surged to the No. 6 ranking in this week’s Top 25. Additionally, two Spartans were named to the All-UAA First Team: graduate students Anthony Mazzeo and Colin Kahl. A forward, Kahl averaged 15.0 points and led the team with 7.6 rebounds per game during the season, finishing the regular season with 1.6 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.9 blocks per game. He shot the highest mark among UAA players from the floor with 57.0%, including 38.1% from beyond the arc. Mazzeo, a guard, averaged an impressive 19.6 points per game during the season while also contributing the third highest amount of assists per game among UAA players with 4.6 assists. Kahl earned two UAA Athlete of the Week nods while Mazzeo racked up five throughout the course of the season. Mazzeo also garnered one Team of the Week nod.

Before the squad’s matchup with CMU, the Spartans recognized the team’s eight graduating players who each appeared in the final regular season game of their collegiate career on Saturday: fourth-years Hunter Drenth, Ian Elam and Luke Thorburn and graduate students Jaylan Hewitt, Kahl, Preston Maccoux, Richie Manigault and Mazzeo.

After the pregame recognition ended on Saturday afternoon, the 3-point barrage started. CWRU made 8 3-pointers in the first half, and following a tied score at 8 points four minutes into the matchup, CMU did not come within 3 points for the remainder of the half. Mazzeo scored 17 of his 19 total points during the first half, and he darted around the court making what seemed like impossible shots one after the other. After his fourth 3-pointer of the half, CWRU was up 42-30 with 1:24 left in the half.

Responding to the deficit, a 6-0 CMU run brough the score to 42-36 heading into halftime. CMU built off this momentum after both teams talked it over, using another run to take a 1 point lead with around 15 minutes left in the second half. CWRU responded with a big stretch over the next nine minutes to put themselves back in the driver’s seat, leading 68-57 with 6:21 left to play.

Just as the Spartans thought CMU was going to give up with their season on the line, the Tartans stormed back with a 9-0 run to cut CWRU’s lead to just 2 points with four minutes left to play. Clutch 3-pointers by guard Maccoux in his final regular season college basketball game made all the difference down the stretch. Maccoux finished with 17 total points, including 12 in the second half. Third-year forward Umar Rashid got in on the 3-point fun late as well, hitting a 3-pointer just after the four-minute mark, which was the Spartans final field goal of the game.

Rashid contributed further with clutch free throws down the stretch, including two makes with just six seconds left. What followed on the final possession was a chaotic stretch from CMU. A full court pass was right on point for the Tartans, but a potentially equalizing 3-pointer was long. The Spartans won 76-75. Celebration ensued on the court, and CWRU cut down the nets in celebration of their second-straight season UAA title—the second time they had captured it in program history.

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

In an effort to promote dialogue and the sharing of ideas, The Observer encourages members of the university community to respectfully voice their comments below. Comments that fail to meet the standards of respect and mutual tolerance will be removed as necessary.
All The Observer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *