Home Stretch for Maroons

After a solid 1–1 weekend, the men’s basketball team is looking to snatch a couple of UAA wins on the road against Brandeis and NYU, two teams at the bottom of the conference rankings.

By Ola Obi

Last weekend, the Maroons played both the No. 4 Rochester YellowJackets and the Emory Eagles for the second time this season. Earlier this season, Chicago fell to these two teams in marginal defeats, losing to each team by eight points. Going into this weekend, the Maroons were feeling extremely confident in themselves and their abilities, and managed to garner a win during the weekend. 

On Friday night, the South Siders reared up to play the YellowJackets in what became an incredibly exciting match. The Maroons had gone toe-to-toe with the YellowJackets the entire game but managed to gain a 15-point lead with about five minutes left in the second half, thanks to a great offensive effort by third-year shooting guard Jake Fenlon, who tallied a whopping 24 points off of three-pointers. In addition, there was an equally noteworthy effort by fourth-year center Blaine Crawford, who posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Although the Maroons lost their lead in the closing minutes of the game, they came out victorious over Rochester with a 90–87 victory. 

On Sunday, the Maroons were looking to prove themselves yet again to make for a perfect weekend, especially for their fourth-years, as this past Sunday was senior night. This year, the program graduates four fourth-years: Blaine Crawford, Alex Gustafson, Tyler Howard, and Waller Perez. Unfortunately, in the close game that followed, the Eagles were able to pull ahead and secure themselves an on-the-road win, as the game ended with a final score of 99–88 in Emory’s favor. There will still be more games to come for the Chicago fourth-years, though, as there are three conference matches left in the season, all to be played on the road.

This upcoming weekend, the Maroons are set to travel to Boston and New York for rematches against Brandeis and NYU. Regarding practice this week, first-year point guard Jordan Baum said, “This week has been more about us getting better at our game than focusing on the other teams. We focused a lot on defense because we know we can score, but there is definitely a lot we can improve on, especially on the defensive end.” 

The first match of the two will be played on Friday at Brandeis, whose team currently sits at sixth in the conference with a record of three wins and eight losses. Thereafter, the Maroons will head to the Big Apple to take on the NYU Bobcats who are tied for eighth and last in the conference with Case Western, with a paltry record of two wins and nine losses. 

With three games left, it’s not too late for the South Siders to play the right cards and advance their ranking within the conference. Though they are currently sitting at fifth in the conference with a record of five and six, anything could happen for the Maroons during these next three games. Moving forward as the end of the season nears, Baum said, “The team has been practicing the same way we have been all year and are staying focused on the games we have ahead of us. The coaches are making a concerted effort to make sure everyone is getting better on both sides of the ball every day.”

The Friday game will commence at 8 p.m. EST while the Sunday game begins at noon EST.