After an eleven-hour car ride from their hometown in Lexington, Ky., Jaine and Nick Novosel arrived just in the nick of time to watch their son play one of his final collegiate home games.
Luckily, the couple didn’t hit any traffic on its way to the Palestra.
Thanks in large part to a career night by senior forward Nate Novosel, UR beat the Case Western Reserve University Spartans (8-7, 0-4 UAA) tonight, 86-68, in front of 1,300 in the Palestra, giving the Yellow Jackets (10-5, 1-3 UAA) their first conference win of the season.
Novosel shot 10-16 from the field en route to his game and season-high 23 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist.
“We trusted our offense tonight,” Novosel said. “And it just happened to be where [junior point guard John DiBartolomeo] had some great dishes out to me in the short corner. [Case Western] was really just leaving me open, so I just took what was given to me.”
But Novosel was far from the only one who had a superb game. Perhaps the Kentucky native put it best when he said, “The game flowed for everyone and it felt really good.”
Four other players besides Novosel scored in double figures including senior guard/forward Chip Dende, who lived true to his name by “chipping” in 15 points on 5-8 shooting from three-point land.
DiBartolomeo was not far-off from his second career collegiate triple-double with 14 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists. Junior center Rob Reid scored 14 points and senior center Marcus Williams added 10 points off the bench.
“Something with our offense that is pretty unique is that anyone can go off any night,” Dende said. “The past few games, our offense has been tight. Tonight, I got some open looks, my teammates found me, and I was lucky enough to knock them down.”
Freshman guard Julien Person had a big night for Case Western, scoring 18 points on four three pointers and 7-7 shooting from the field.
The ’Jackets went into halftime up 48-38, but at the 17:40 mark in the second half, the Spartans pulled within four on a trio of two-point jumpers, making the score 48-44.
UR responded with a 7-0 run and never looked back.
“A key to any team playing well is having confidence,” Dende said. “Winning this game gives us confidence more than anything.”
The confidence gained in tonight’s game could go a long way in helping UR defend its UAA title from a year ago. After losing three straight conference games, winning tonight’s match-up was a necessity.
“We weren’t expecting to come out slow in the conference,” Dende said. “But the way the league is shaping up there are so many good teams. Anyone can knock off anyone on any night. Hopefully this game can turn it around for us and we can keep it going.”
A full box score of the game can be seen on the UR athletic website here.