After 12 games of alternating triumph and devastation in the UAA, the Maroons have been officially knocked out of title contention. The result comes after Chicago (14–10, 7–6 UAA) lost at NYU (19–5, 8–5) on Friday 79–69. On Sunday, in a game without any tangible implications, the Maroons defeated Brandeis (13–11, 7–6) 80–66.
On Friday, the Maroons contained NYU at 9–9 five minutes into the game.
“I thought both teams were comfortable offensively,” assistant coach Drew Adams said. “I thought NYU had made some shots that were pretty well contested…and I think the same went for us.”
In the first half, the Violets shot 53.8 percent from the field and 60 percent from behind the arc.
“I think that [the Maroons] lost concentration a few times,” Adams said. “We gave [the Violets] some open looks that really got them feeling pretty good. Once they start feeling that way, it’s pretty hard to get stops.”
The Violets’ offensive execution gave them a 44–29 lead at the half.
In the second half, NYU had an even greater offensive explosion than in the first. With 6:34 left in the game, the Violets had their biggest lead of the night at 77–50.
Still, the Maroons didn’t give up. A fade-away three-pointer from fourth-year guard Tommy Sotos cut the deficit to 11 points, at 77–66, with 2:13 left in the game. But it was too little too late.
After the loss, the Maroons’ fourth-years had just two collegiate basketball games remaining.
“Friday night was tough,” Adams said. “The guys were down.”
Still, the Maroons’ fourth-years wanted to end their final two games with victories.
“I will give [fourth-year guard] Matt Johnson, and the other [fourth-years] credit; they really rallied the troops on Saturday,” Adams said.
The Maroons came out strong on Sunday under the leadership of the fourth-years. Johnson paced Chicago with 29 points on 9–18 shooting from the field. Meanwhile, fourth-year forward Tom Williams, who has been plagued with injury throughout the season, had 18 points, all coming from three-pointers. He finished the game with 6–8 shooting from behind the arc.
Shortly after the Maroons beat Brandeis, Wash U (18–6, 10–3) defeated NYU to clinch the UAA title.
With that over, there isn’t much on the line for the Maroons’ home and season finale on Saturday against Wash U.
Yet, Adams said, the Maroons will fight hard for a victory.
“It’ll be a little bit different than the typical game, but it’s a rivalry game,” he said. “Records don’t matter; circumstances don’t matter; teams are really going to want to win.”