Men’s basketball defeats Emory Eagles 78–70, Case Western Reserve Spartans 70–66 at Skibo
The Carnegie Mellon men’s basketball team hoped to preserve its NCAA tournament chances with two home victories over University Athletic Association (UAA) opponents. The Tartans polished off the Emory University Eagles Friday night and survived a late surge by the Case Western Reserve Spartans Sunday afternoon. The victories moved the team’s record to 16–8 overall with a 6–7 conference mark.
The story this weekend was super-senior forward Greg Gonzalez, who posted career numbers in both games to make his mark on the final UAA weekend in Skibo Gymnasium.
“We have Rochester next weekend,” said Gonzalez, who had 21 rebounds against Case, just two rebounds shy of the conference record. “But these are the last Friday and Sunday home games that Geoff and I are going to have here. It was real important to me to come out here and make them memorable. It was big to get these wins.”
Gonzalez performed well, getting his third and fourth straight double-doubles this weekend. He put up 23 points and pulled down a then-career-high 14 rebounds Friday night before trumping himself Sunday with 12 points and 21 rebounds. His 12 points Sunday included a clutch elbow jumper with just over a minute left to hold the surging Spartans off.
“I wasn’t even thinking,” said Gonzalez. “I just let it go. I had the shot in front of me and I didn’t think about the score. I probably should’ve been, actually.”
The shot put a little more distance between the Tartans and Case Western, who hit a few late three-pointers to close the gap to three with two minutes remaining.
“That would’ve looked pretty bad if we blew that one,” said junior guard Corey O’Rourke, who had his own eight-point surge in the first two minutes of the second half. “That’s just an example of why we need to stay focused for 40 minutes. We dominated that game, and we almost lost it because we figured we had it in the bag.”
Carnegie Mellon also got a solid weekend out of leading scorer Ryan Einwag, who had 17 points Friday and 16 Sunday. Geoff Kozak hit a clutch three late in the game against Case Western to curb the Spartans’ final run. Kozak had nine points Friday and eight Sunday, but he and Gonzalez often make contributions that don’t end up on the stat sheet.
“It was a good final UAA weekend,” Kozak said. “Greg and I like to think we’ve been leading this team all season, and this has been pretty memorable. It was good to wrap our Friday and Sunday games with victories. Now, we just have to focus on closing out strong against Rochester next Saturday.”
The Tartans finish their season against the 14th-ranked Yellow Jackets of Rochester Saturday at Skibo Gym. A victory will help to determine their postseason fate.