CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Brandeis University rookie guard Ruben Kanya (Ottawa, Ont./Bridgton (Maine) Acad.) scored 15 of his game- and career-high 20 points in the second half, helping the 13th-ranked Judges cut an 11-point halftime deficit to one, but they could not come all the way in a 66-63 loss to Case Western Reserve in a University Athletic Association (UAA) contest. The loss, Brandeis's second in a row after an 11-game winning streak, drops the Judges to 11-2 (1-2 UAA), while the Spartans sit alone atop the conference after two weeks at 7-7, 3-0 UAA.
Kanya surpassed his previous career scoring high by nine points on 5-of-9 shooting from the floor, 3-of-5 from 3-point range and 7-of-8 from the line. He also matched a career-high with eight rebounds to lead all players. The Judges' only other double figure scorer was junior Vytas Kriskus (Kvedarna, Lithuania/Holderness School), who Kanya replaced in the starting lineup, with 11 points, though he needed 3-of-12 shooting with a trifecta and 4-of-4 from the line. The game was the Judges's sixth this season decided by three points or fewer, as they fell to 4-2 in those games.
Case put three starters in double figures, paced by 14 points from forward Tom Summers. Frontcourt mate Austin Fowler added 13 points, while guard Reid Anderson had 10. David Thompson topped the Spartans with seven rebounds off the bench. Summers had 10 points and Fowler nine in the first 20 minutes to help establish a 31-22 the lead.
Brandeis outrebounded the Spartans, 35-27, but Case shot 44% (18-41) to the Judges' 32% (16-50), including 55% (12-22) to 32% (8-25) in the first half, when the Spartans jumped out to their nine-point lead. The 32% shooting was the second-straight game Brandeis was held under 35 percent shooting after not going lower than 41.5% during their 11-game winning streak.
The Brandeis deficit was 11 after an Eric Duerr lay-up to open the second half, but the Judges were back within nine at 35-26 with 15:46 left on the clock. The visitors had four chances to get closer after getting defensive stops, but were unable to close in the middle part of the half.
A pair of Summers free throws with 10:16 reestablished a 43-33 lead for the hosts, but Brandeis responded with 10 of the game's next 12 points over a 2:50 stretch. Brandeis connected on 8-of-10 from the line in the run, capped by a pair from rookie reserve forward Alex Stoyle (Goffstown, N.H./Tilton School) that made it 45-43 Spartans with 7:35 remaining. The Judges got within one point from the line a couple of times, the latest coming on two Kanya freebies with 55 seconds left that made it 59-58.
Case was able to score the next four points from the line to push the lead back to five at 63-58 on two Tim Chung free throws with 19 seconds left. Kanya answered with a quick 3-pointer, making the score 63-61. After Anderson hit one of two from the line to push the lead back to three with seven second left, the Spartans wisely elected to foul. Sophomore Jay Freeman (Dorchester, Mass./St. Mark's School) hit both shots with three second left, but Chung did the same at the other end after Brandeis fouled to mark the final score. In all, the teams shot 54 free throws in the second half, with the Judges hitting 23-of-27 and the Spartans 22-of-27.
Brandeis returns to UAA action at home next weekend against the University of Chicago on Friday night at 8 p.m.