After winning two straight closely contested UAA contests in the friendly confines of the Ratner Athletics Center, the Chicago men’s basketball team went to Boston to take on the Judges of Brandeis. A win would notch the Chicago’s first road win of the season and keep them in a second place tie in the UAA behind top-ranked Rochester.
Brandeis has been very weak in recent years and the Maroons have been able to dominate them on the court. This was the case on Friday night, as the Maroons started off the game with a 13-2 run and never looked back. They led by 20 points at the half, well on their way to gaining their first road victory of the year.
Third-year guard Justin Waldie paced Chicago with 20 points, converting on 8 of 10 field goals. Two other Maroons joined him in double figures as third-year Mike Dolezal scored 15 and fourth-year Scott Fisher added 10. The win, Chicago’s third straight, gave the Maroons their first winning streak of the season.
The key to the victory was the outstanding shooting for the Maroons, who shot almost 52 percent from the field, a far cry from their season average, which had been hovering around 40 percent.
“I don’t know what it is, but we seem to shoot a lot better on the road than at home,” Waldie said. “Maybe we’re not used to [it] yet, but we’re shooting better on the road even though this is our only win so far.”
On Sunday, the team traveled to New York to take on a much-improved New York University squad that had fallen to then third-ranked Rochester by only two points on the road. The Maroons were in for much more of a game from the Violets than in recent years.
NYU scored the game’s first nine points and built up their lead to 22-2 in the early going. Despite Chicago’s healthy shooting night just two nights before, they came out flat, shooting just 42 percent from the field and missing on 15 three-pointers.
The Maroons made a nice run at the end of the first half and trailed by just six points at the break. NYU, however, managed to extend its lead to 42-31 with a little less than 15 minutes to go in the game.
As has been the case for most of the season, the Maroons once again put together a run, even tying the game at 48 on a shot by Dolezal with eight minutes remaining. Once again, though, the Maroons let the game slip away as NYU went on a crippling 8-0 run. NYU was led by Jared Kildare, who scored 22 points on the afternoon.
This was NYU’s first victory over Chicago since the 1995-96 season. Prior to Sunday, Chicago had won the last 15 contests between the two UAA rivals. With the loss, the Maroons dropped to 7-9 overall (3-2 in the UAA) and slid down to a third-place tie.
Again, it was a matter of the Maroons falling behind early and expending too much energy to get back in the game to make a defensive stop or a big basket to take the lead.
“We are just making it too hard on ourselves,” said third-year Brian Cuttica. The Maroons are going to need a better effort this weekend as they travel to Carnegie Mellon on Friday and to first-ranked Rochester on Sunday afternoon.