Maroons face doubleheader against Emory, Rochester

The men’s basketball squad hopes to improve its 6–3 conference record with a pair of UAA rematches.

By Michael Cheiken

The Maroons split on their road trip last weekend, going 1–1 with a victory over Case Western and a disappointing loss to Carnegie Mellon, and this weekend the Chicago men are traveling again. Tonight they play their rematch with Rochester University before heading straight to Atlanta for a game on Sunday at noon.

“We are really excited to play these two teams again. Playing someone the second time around is always a challenge but it is one we are excited to take on,” second-year guard Alex Gustafson said.

The Rochester (9–11, 5–4 UAA) squad provided a challenge for the Maroons (14–6, 6–3) on Neon Night a month ago, but ultimately fell to the Maroons. That game was played at the rowdy Ratner Athletics Center, though. The Maroons have been a different team on the road, winning only one of four conference games. If they wish to hold on to their position atop the conference, the squad is going to have to break that trend. 

Rochester, on the other hand is riding a four game winning streak into the matchup, and will be trying to knock the Maroons off the pedestal. The Yellowjackets are in a five-way tie for second place in the conference with a 5–4 conference record, and a victory over our hometown squad would bring the Rochester side into a tie atop the conference.

The Maroons won’t make it easy for them though.  The team isn’t leading the league by accident. Chicago has sported the second-best defense in the UAA this season, and the Rochester offense ranks in the bottom half of the conference. While expecting to win, the Maroons cannot take the Yellowjackets lightly, and they cannot be looking forward to Sunday’s game just yet.

The Maroons’ (19–9, 5–4) travel and recuperation day will find them making their way down south to Atlanta. The Eagles will be carrying a chip on their shoulder.  This weekend finds them on a home stand against Wash U and Chicago, teams that account for two of their five losses. 

The Emory squad will be looking to avenge its earlier defeats, and the Maroons are going to have to take full advantage of the recovery day to be at the top of their game Sunday.  The Eagles are an astounding 10–1 at home this year, losing their single game last weekend on an NYU game-winning layup.

“We obviously love playing at home but there wouldn’t be anything better than getting a win on Emory’s home court. I think that will provide some energy and incentive for the team,” Gustafson said.

The game will rest heavily on how the Maroons are able to deal with Emory fourth-year forward Alex Foster. Foster leads the league with 20.8 points per game and is also the conference’s fourth-best rebounder.  But when he pulls outside, you still have to mark him since he shoots more than 40 percent from behind the arc.  If the Maroons are able to slow down the Eagles’ big man, they should be able to win the game.

The Maroons control their own destiny in the UAA. Now all that’s left is to ensure it on the road.