CLEVELAND – Ryan Clamage and Jacob Wittig made key plays down the stretch as the University of Rochester battled back to defeat Case Western Reserve University, 68-62, on Sunday afternoon at Horsburgh Gymnasium.
The victory keeps Rochester in a tie for first place in the University Athletic Association along with Emory University. Both teams are 10-3 in the UAA. Rochester is 20-4 overall, Emory is 19-5. Case Western Reserve is 9-15 overall, 2-11 in the UAA.
Next Saturday, Rochester will play at Emory in the regular-season finale. The winner of that game will receive a Pool A (automatic bid) to the NCAA Division III playoffs. The UAA is the only Division III conference without a post-season tournament. There are 43 leagues that do have such a tourney.
Rochester hit two milestones in victories with this win. This is the 13th season with 20 or more victories. It is also the 1,400th all-time win for the UR men. This is the 118th year of men's basketball on the River Campus.
Clamage finished with 17 points, including 9-10 accuracy at the foul line. Wittig scored 13 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. Ryan Algier had nine points and three blocked shots. Andrew Lundstrom had nine points and Trent Noordsij scored eight points.
Michael Volkening led CWRU with a career-high 22 points, Michael Hollis had nine points. The loss was the seventh straight for Case Western Reserve, its 10th in the last 11 games.
Rochester built a 10-point lead, 51-41, midway through the second half. The Yellowjackets went cold, missing three field goal attempts. The Spartans got hot, hitting a pair of three-pointers, and running off 10 points in 70 seconds to tie the game at 51-all with eight minutes to play.
Antonio Ionadi hit two free throws for a 55-54 CWRU lead with just over four minutes left. Wittig drove for a layup through traffic, then fed Alger for a drop-in, putting UR back on top, 58-55. Layups from Ionadi and Hollis put the hosts back in front, 59-58, with 2:34 left.
Another Algier layup made it 60-59 UR. Hollis sank the first of two free throw attempts to knot it at 60-all. Clamage drove for a layup (62-60) with 1:32 left. Wittig's layup with 21 seconds remaining made it a four-point game (64-60) and Clamage sealed the win hitting four of four from the line in the last 10 seconds.