Fresh off of a four-game home stand, the men’s basketball team had their hot streak cool off when they went on the road to face the Case Western Reserve University Spartans and the Emory University Eagles. What should have been an easy precursor against the bottom of the University Athletic Association before taking on conference leader Carnegie Mellon University, ended up being heartbreaking back to back losses.

The Yellowjackets, 7-6, are now tied with Washington University in St. Louis and New York University for third place in the UAA.

In game one, what looked like a rout in the first half turned out to be a massive collapse by the Yellowjackets.

The Yellowjackets put together a 23-16 lead at the half, but the game wasn’t nearly as close as the score might have indicated. The Yellowjackets dominated the Spartans early, holding them to only 23 percent from the floor and 0-9 from behind the arc.

UR came out fighting in the second half, led by a couple of threes by point guard and sophomore Jeff Juron that pushed the lead to 12. After a lay up by Yellowjacket center and sophomore Jon Onyiriuka, a bolt of lighting struck the Spartans as they put together a 16-0 run over the next five minutes and took the lead to 38-35.

The Yellowjackets were able to pull back within one after free throws by Juron, but a clutch performance from the charity stripe sealed the win for the Spartans in the closing minutes. The final score was 43-51.

Mason Conrad led the Spartans with 16 points on 8-14 shooting as the Spartans garnered only their third conference win of the season.

In game two at the Woodruff Physical Education Center in Atlanta, Ga., the Yellowjackets attempted to come back from Friday’s loss, taking on the Eagles. But the Yellowjackets hopes were quickly dashed as the Eagles came on the floor with a hot streak, shooting a blistering 59 percent from the floor and going 9-14 from behind the arc, building an 18 point first half lead.

The Yellowjackets didn’t fair much better in the second half, coming within only 12 with only four seconds left in the game. The Eagles, led by Spiros Ferderigos shot a red hot 52.2 percent from behind the arc and garnered only their fourth conference win of the season.

Guard and senior Mike Goia led the Yellowjackets with 24 points going 11-21 from the field, garnering his third 20 point game of the season.

What was even more surprising about the loss was that the Yellowjackets were only giving up an average of 54 points per game.

The Yellowjackets play conference leader Carnegie Mellon next Saturday at Skibo Gym in Pittsburgh. Although the Yellowjackets have been eliminated from contention for a conference title, they can still have an affect on it, for Washington holds the same 9-4 record as the Tartans.

Wang can be reached at bwang@campustimes.org.</i.



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