(CLEVELAND, Ohio) - A late second-half comeback stopped the Carnegie Mellon University men's basketball team from stealing a road University Athletic Association win as Case Western Reserve University pulled out an 84-81 win at home to start league play. The Tartans are now 7-5 and 0-1 with the Spartans moving to 9-3 and 1-0.
With Case leading 25-15 in the first half, freshman Jack Serbin (New Albany, Ohio/New Albany) scored on a reverse layup to end a 9-2 run by the Spartans and a layin by senior Rashaun Riley (Houston, Texas/Cypress Creek) brought the Tartans within six points with half of the period to play.
The Spartans were holding to a 31-20 lead following a put-back layup by Dane McLoughlin before the Tartans closed the final six minutes with a 23-8 run to take a 43-39 lead into the locker room. Case senior David Thompson had 10 of the Spartans' 31 points but was sent to the bench with his second foul with eight minutes to play.
During the Tartans comeback, senior Asad Meghani (Carrollton, Texas/Greenhill School) found junior Seth Cordts (Amherst, N.H. / Souhegan) with an outlet pass up court for a fastbreak layup pulling the Tartans within five points, 31-26. After Tim Chung hit his third three-pointer of the half, senior Christian Manoli (San Rafael, Calif./Terra Linda) answered with his third trey for the half. Meghani later nailed a step-back jumper and Serbin followed with a put-back layup to pull the Tartans within one-point.
Freshman Matt Hillman (Gaithersburg, Md./Sidwell Friends) forced Jimmy Holman into a turnover and found junior Rob Mohen (Stamford, Conn./Regis (NYC)) up court who dished it off to Cordts in the corner who promptly drained a three to give the Tartans their first lead of the half since two minutes in.
The Tartans scored eight points off three turnovers during the half-ending run in which the Spartans cooled making just 3-of-7 attempts, although finishing the half with a 51.7% performance from the field.
Meghani fueled a 13-2 run to start the second half with eight points and put the Tartans ahead 56-41 before a driving layin by Javi Alvarez sparked an 18-4 answer by the Spartans to pull the home squad within four points, 63-59, with nine minutes to play.
The Tartans would take another 10-point lead on a jumper by Serbin with 5:29 to play and later lead by nine following a three-pointer by the freshman from the corner with 3:27 to go.
An and-one play by Thompson with 2:15 to play pulled the Spartans within three points and took the wind out of Carnegie Mellon's sail as the Spartans made three more layups to eventually take back the lead at 82-80 with a minute to go.
Down three with three seconds to play, Meghani was fouled and given the one-and-one opportunity, making the first before a timeout was called by Carnegie Mellon's head coach Tony Wingen. Meghani intentionally missed the second free throw but the Tartans were called for a foul on the rebound.
A free throw by the Spartans and a missed half court attempt by Manoli later resulted in the Spartans 84-81 victory.
Meghani finished with 23 points on 80% shooting from the field including a 6-for-6 performance from long range. Manoli followed with 20 points and a team-high six rebounds with Mohen scoring 10 and Serbin nine. Meghani also tied a season-high with five assists.
Thompson led Case with 18 points and nine rebounds while McLoughlin finished with a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds.
The Tartans will next take to the court on Friday, January 17 when they face Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., at 8:00 p.m.