Men’s basketball team reaches new heights

The Carnegie Mellon men’s basketball team pulled off a weekend sweep by defeating conference foes Emory University and Case Western Reserve University.

On Friday, the Tartans won a thrilling game over Emory, winning 71–70 in overtime. On Sunday, the Tartans used strong free-throw shooting down the stretch to prevail 58–53 over Case.

On Friday, the Tartans trailed Emory 70–66 with 1:23 remaining in overtime before they scored the final five points.
At the 1:07 mark of overtime, junior guard Geoff Kozak passed the ball to first-year guard Jack Anderson, who was able to lay the ball in and draw the foul. Anderson hit the foul shot to cut the lead to one. The Tartans’ defense stepped up big, forcing a shot clock violation by the Eagles. Then Kozak arguably hit the biggest basket of his career with 16 seconds left, laying the ball in to give Carnegie Mellon the 71–70 lead.

“In situations like that, you need to want the ball when the pressure’s the greatest,” said Kozak. “I got the ball at the top of the key and people were moving around and it was my opportunity to make a play.”

With two seconds left, Emory’s Adrian Sosa pulled up and attempted a three-pointer only to have sophomore guard Corey O’Rourke’s hand block the shot. Sosa got the ball back but was unable to get a shot off before the buzzer sounded, giving the Tartans the thrilling one-point win.

At the end of regulation, the Tartans had to come from behind to force overtime. Down by one with six seconds left, O’Rourke drove the lane and drew a foul, sending him to the line for two shots. After missing his first, O’Rourke hit the second, knotting the game at 65–65. After a timeout, Emory brought the ball up the court, but tight defense by the Tartans kept the Eagles from attempting a shot.

The Tartans relied on a balanced attack, with senior guard Brad Matta leading the way with 16 points and 12 rebounds, marking his first career double-double. Sophomore forward Ryan Einwag added 15 points and seven rebounds, and Anderson finished with a career-high 15 points on five-of-eight shooting. Kozak contributed 13 points and five assists, and O’Rourke dished out seven assists in the win.

Against Case on Sunday, Matta’s layup with 7:59 remaining gave the Tartans their biggest lead of 11 at 48–37. The Tartans held on the rest of the way, despite not making another field goal, for the win.

Case went on a 16–4 run, taking its first lead of the game at 53–52 with 58 seconds remaining. On the following possession, Einwag drew a foul and hit both free throws to let Carnegie Mellon retake the lead with 37 seconds left.

Case then turned the ball over and was forced to foul again. Sophomore forward Jon Wolleben made both his foul shots to give the Tartans a three-point lead with 22 seconds left. Case missed another shot, and the Tartans sealed the deal with two more free throws, making them 12–13 from the free-throw line in the second half.

Against Case, Einwag led the Tartans with 16 points and six rebounds, and sophomore center Rob Pearson added a career-high 13 points. Kozak led the team with six assists to complement his six points.

“We came off three straight losses, and so to pick up a win [over Emory] was huge,” said Kozak. “A couple people made some huge baskets in regulation, and in overtime to get the win... was huge. You want to improve game to game, and there were some things we didn’t do well [against Case], but one of the things we did do well was foul shooting, especially in the last two minutes. To blow an 11-point lead was difficult, but we came through again in the clutch and we won the game. Two wins in the UAA is big.”

The Tartans will take to the road to play Case again on Friday at 8 p.m.