CLEVELAND – Led by the most valuable player, junior point guard Jimmy Holman (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer), the Case Western Reserve University men's basketball team matched the best start in program history with an 80-73 win versus Trine University (Ind.) in the championship game of the 2014 Bill Sudeck Holiday Tournament at Horsburgh Gymnasium.
The Spartans (8-2) tie the 2011-12 and 2005-06 squads for the program's best 10-game record.
Holman finished the evening with 10 points, four rebounds and three assists. For the tournament, he totaled 15 points, nine rebounds and 13 assists while committing just four turnovers.
Senior forward Dane McLoughlin (Westerville, Ohio/St. Charles Preparatory), MVP of the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Memorial Tournament back in November, joined Holman on the all-tournament team. McLoughlin scored 16 points with four three-pointers. He now has 188 career treys, ranking third in school history and just 11 shy of John Link's (1999-03) record of 199.
Also finishing in double-figures was freshman forward David Black (Avon Lake, Ohio/Saint Ignatius) and senior forward Brian Klements (Willoughby Hills, Ohio/Willoughby South) with 15 and 10 points, respectively.
The Thunder (6-4) was led by Will Dixon with a game-high 31 points and all-tournament selection Jared Holmquist with 29. The duo combined to score 60 of Trine's 73 points in the contest.
The Spartans started fast and led 22-10 when Black canned a three-pointer at the 11:18 mark of the first half. The lead bubbled to a high of 20 (33-13) following a layup by freshman forward Eric Black (Avon Lake, Ohio/Saint Ignatius) at 7:40, but Trine was able to end the half on a 14-8 run to trim its deficit to 41-27.
In the second, Trine narrowed the CWRU advantage to 11 when Dixon hit a layup to bring the score to 51-40 at 15:22. However, five points in a row from senior guard Julien Person (Paris, France/Second Baptist, Texas) opened up a quick 7-0 spurt that put the hosts back on top by 18.
Trine refused to go away for the duration, chipping its deficit all the way down to 74-66 with two Dixon free throws with just 2:32 remaining. That capped an 8-2 run, but the Spartans were able to hit six free throws combined between David Black and Person to bump their lead back to double-digits. A Trine three-pointer by Joel Zwiers with 10 seconds remaining brought the final to 80-73.
For the game, the Spartans dominated in bench scoring (34-3) and points in the paint (32-20).
The Spartans are now idle from competition until a 7:30 p.m. home matchup with Muskingum University on Wednesday, January 7.