Brandeis Edges Past Spartans, 78-74, in Overtime Thriller

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WALTHAM, Mass. – A quick 6-0 run from Brandeis University midway through overtime proved to be the difference as the Case Western Reserve University men's basketball team fell by a 78-74 count versus the Judges in University Athletic Association action on Friday evening inside Red Auerbach Arena.

The Spartans fall to 8-9 overall and 0-6 in UAA play. They will look to get back on the winning track Sunday afternoon versus New York University at 12:00 p.m.. With the victory, Brandeis improves to 10-7 overall and 4-2 in UAA action.

In the first half, the two teams exchanged baskets and defensive stops in the early minutes as neither team was able to gain a lead larger than three. The Spartans forged their largest advantage of the half at 18-14 with 8:11 left on a three-point field goal from freshman point guard Jordan Dean (St. Johns, Fla./Creekside). The Judges cut it to one, but Spartan junior forward Austin Fowler (Farmington Hills, Mich./Birmingham Brother Rice) knocked down all three free throw attempts after being fouled on an attempt from beyond the arc pushing the Case advantage to four. The Spartans were able to keep it there and held a three-point lead (31-28) at the intermission.

The second half proved to be much of the same as neither team could grab a lead of more than three points in the opening seven minutes. That trend continued throughout the period until sophomore center David Thompson (Plano, Texas/Plano Senior) gave the Spartans a one-point lead, 51-50, on a fast break dunk with 7:10 left on an assist by Dean. However, the Judges reeled off an 8-0 run over the next three minutes capped off by a lay-up from Derek Ratos to lead 58-51.

Refusing to go away, the Spartans battled back and eventually knotted the contest at 64-64 on a pair of charity tosses from junior guard Robert Scott (Paoli, Pa./Conestoga) with 11.1 seconds left. In the final possession of regulation, the Spartan defensive unit locked down and forced the Judges into an off-balance game-winning attempt that was off the mark.

In the overtime period, neither team could pull away in the opening 90 seconds. Case grabbed a slim one-point advantage (66-65) thanks to a putback by Thompson at the 3:23 mark, but Brandeis rattled off a 6-0 spurt spanning 1:59 of action to lead 71-66. Undaunted, Case fought back and pulled within two (75-73) but could get no closer as the Judges hung on for the four-point win.

Individually, senior forward Tom Summers (Murrysville, Pa./Franklin Regional) led the Spartan charge with 20 points, his fifth-consecutive double-figure output and 11th this season. Summers added 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the winter and 18th of his career, helping the Spartans to a decided 40-29 advantage on the glass.

Fowler chipped in with 17 points, hitting 10-of-11 at the charity stripe, and 14 rebounds for his third double-double of the season and eighth of his career. He also added a career-high six assists. Thompson also wound up in double-digits with 13 points, while freshman Dane McLoughlin (Westerville, Ohio/St. Charles Preparatory) added nine markers off the bench.  

Ben Bartoldus paced five Judges in double figures with 14 points, while Youri Dascy and Ratos added 13 apiece.

Friday's result continued a trend of close games between the two as each of last year's meetings were decided by less than three points.