There is still hope for the Maroons to receive a share of the title. While the hope is slim, given that Chicago sits three games behind Wash U with only three games remaining in the UAA, the Maroons have momentum on their side.
After defeating Carnegie in a 77–75 overtime thriller on Friday, Chicago stayed in the UAA hunt by ousting Case 86–78 on Sunday.
Friday’s game against Carnegie featured a first-time starter for the Maroons: second-year guard Derrick Davis.
In the nine minutes he played in the first half, the second-year did not make any shot attempts and did not provide blocks or steals on defense.
By the half’s end, the Maroons were down 36–27.
However, the second half was a brand-new game for Davis. He was 5–6 from the field, blocked one shot, and had two steals.
“The thing about [Davis], from the time he’s walked in here, he’s had some very physical tools that very few players I’ve coached have had, and those tools should really transfer in the defensive end,” head coach Mike McGrath said. “Recently, I’ve really felt that he’s starting to put them together.”
Davis’s efforts contributed heavily to the victory for the Maroons. With 34 seconds left in overtime, fourth-year guard Michael Sustarsic found Davis open right next to the basket. The second-year dunked the ball emphatically to put the Maroons up 74–69.
Still, Carnegie did not give up. With time expiring and the Tartans down 77–75, guard Asad Meghani, who was 5–8 from the three-point range on the night, put up a three-pointer that hit the rim but did not go in.
“I thought it looked good,” McGrath said. “I was glad when it went out.”
The Maroons saw another tight affair in the first half against Case.
After Matt Johnson went 0–5 from behind the arc and the Maroons converted on only four of 14 three-point attempts in the first half, the team found itself behind 34–33 at the end of the half.
Yet again, another second-year stepped up for the Maroons in the final 20 minutes. This time it was forward Sam Gage.
Gage scored all of his 18 points in the second half, going 5–7 from the field and 6–6 from the charity stripe.
“[Gage] has played well this year,” McGrath said. “When he gets to the point where he consistently knocks down that jump shot, he’s going to be [a great] player.”
Gage’s efforts, on top of 41.7 percent shooting from behind the arc for the Maroons, landed Chicago an 86–78 victory.
For the Maroons to even have a chance at sharing the UAA title, they must win all of their remaining games, and Wash U must suffer three defeats.
“I hope we try to win [the final] three games, which I think is very, very plausible,” McGrath said. “I hope that Wash U loses three [games,] and I think that’s very plausible, and we’ll see what happens in between.”
The Maroons will attempt to keep their hopes alive on the east coast this weekend. They tip off on Friday at 7 p.m. at NYU and Sunday at 11 a.m. at Brandeis.