Home Court Proves Advantageous for Chicago

The men’s basketball team is on a roll, winning their last four games, including three at home. They were champions of the UChicago Tournament this weekend and will take on Wheaton this Wednesday followed by Kalamazoo on Saturday.

By Cavell Means

The South Siders came out on top in both of their games over the holiday weekend, defeating Carroll 94–83 on Saturday and DePauw 78–56 on Sunday. Both games were part of the four-team UChicago Tournament, which took place at Ratner Athletics Center. The Maroons are now preparing to face off against Wheaton College on Wednesday night. 

The first game was a closely fought battle, which started with Carroll creating a seven-point lead in the first half. However, Chicago’s starting lineup clawed its way back and tied the game at 19 thanks to five straight points from fourth-year forward Blaine Crawford. Bolstered by second-year Noah Karras, who was sensational from deep with three three-pointers, the Maroons took a 41–37 lead into the second half.

The second half was even closer, with several lead changes. Fourth-year forward Waller Perez stepped up though, scoring 20 points through layups and spot-up shots around the perimeter. With eight minutes left, the Maroons led 68–66 and then put their feet on the gas, going on a 22–9 run that sealed the game. Perez ended the game leading the team with 24 points, while Karras set a career-high with 22 points, and Crawford had a double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds. The starting lineup, which has been spectacular all season, contributed a whopping 90 out of 93 points.

Despite an eventual blowout, the second game saw an incredibly close first half. After Chicago opened with a 28–19 lead, DePauw pushed back to go into the second half trailing 35–34. First half standouts were Perez and Crawford, with 11 and 10 points, respectively. The second half opened the game up, due to a much-improved Chicago offense that hit its first six out of seven shots. Karras shook off a slow start to drop eight points, including two three-pointers. As the lead kept growing, DePauw was powerless to stop it, and the bench was cleared en route to the 22-point victory. Blaine Crawford was named tournament MVP, and Waller Perez was named to the All-Tournament Team.

Overall, first-year guard Jordan Baum was very happy with his team’s efforts, and looked forward to the Maroons’ next game.

“We played two really good teams this weekend, so to be able to come up with two wins is huge for us,” Baum said. “I think we have a lot of confidence on both ends of the court right now, which will definitely help us heading into Wednesday.”

Wheaton should be a tough match-up, as it is 3–1 with a lone loss coming against No. 2 Benedictine by a margin of just 10 points. Wheaton is on a three-game win streak heading into the game.

However, the last time Wheaton and Chicago faced off was in December, when the Maroons walked away with a decisive 25 point victory, winning 77–52. The team looks to replicate that success essentially a year later. The game is a home game and will begin at 8 p.m. on Wednesday at Ratner Athletics Center.