CLEVELAND – Jake Fenlon sank a deep three-pointer as the buzzer sounded to hand the University of Chicago men's basketball team a dramatic 74-72 win at Case Western Reserve University on Friday night.
The Maroons (11-6 overall, 3-3 UAA) won their third-straight University Athletic Association contest. The Spartans fell to 0-6 in the league and 5-12 overall.
UChicago's outside shooting went cold at the game's onset. The visitors missed their opening seven attempts from the three-point arc. Case made a move seven minutes into the game and embarked on a 19-4 run to take a 29-15 lead. Consecutive three-pointers from junior guard Jake Fenlon and senior forward Waller Perez cut the deficit back to single digits. Senior guard Tyler Howard's deep splash capped UChicago's 18-5 run in response.
The Spartans led by one at 34-33 late in the half and sank a pair of free throws with five seconds left to take a 41-37 edge into the break. Case made half of its shots in the opening 20 minutes while the Maroons recovered to make 45.5 percent of their field goals. Perez was a catalyst as the half progressed, scoring a team-best 11 points while Fenlon had eight points.
Once the second half began, the two teams exchanged baskets back-and-forth for an extended amount of time. A three and two layups strung together gave UChicago a 48-47 edge. Senior forward Blaine Crawford, who was limited by foul trouble in the first half, made one free throw and a layup to put the Maroons up once more at 57-55. However, free throws were a source of frustration for the visitors – they only converted 11 of 32 (34.4 percent) over the course of the game.
Case found itself ahead 62-58 with nine minutes left on the clock. But from that point on, the home team endured a lengthy cold streak and only scored three points over a nearly seven-minute stretch. Sophomore forward Ryan Jacobsen rebounded a three-point miss and then sank a triple of his own on the same possession to give the Maroons a 65-63 lead.
The Spartans finally broke the funk with a trey to recapture a 68-66 advantage. However, UChicago snagged two crucial offensive rebounds on the ensuing possession to set up Tyler Howard's three. The senior guard immediately turned around and pilfered the ball from Case with 47 seconds left.
After Case retook the lead 70-69, the Maroons hustled back the other way and scored on a Perez layup with 13 seconds on the clock. But the Spartans were undeterred, sinking an arcing jumper from the free throw line to go ahead 72-71 with four seconds remaining.
Fenlon saved his best for last. The junior caught the inbounds pass several feet behind the top of the arc, took one dribble to his right and launched a jumper that swished through as the horn blared.
UChicago finished the game shooting 42.9 percent from the field and 32.1 percent from three (9-28). Case ended up shooting 45.3 percent from the field, 34.8 percent from deep (8-23) and 72.7 percent from the charity stripe (16-22). The Maroons flexed their muscle on the glass with a 47-35 rebounding edge while turnovers were even at 15 each.
Perez scored a game-high 17 points with six rebounds. Crawford hauled in 14 rebounds with 10 points and three blocks. Jacobsen contributed 13 points and five rebounds off the bench. Howard posted 12 points, seven assists and five rebounds. Fenlon added in 11 points.
- Sunday, Jan. 29 @ Noon (ET) – UChicago at Carnegie Mellon University