Chicago Treks Onward

Men’s basketball gears up to play Emory and Rochester this weekend, while traveling all the while.

By Andrew Beytagh

The Maroons continue their road swing this weekend against Emory University and the University of Rochester. Taking three out of their last four games, Chicago looks ready for a tough weekend of games. Emory and Rochester are both ranked in the Top 25 according to Chicago currently sits with a 3–2 record in UAA play while Rochester sits at 4–1 and Emory tops the UAA at 5–0. This weekend could determine whether the Maroons ultimately make the postseason. Both Emory and Rochester made the postseason tournament last year, but they return as very different squads. Emory returns with a veteran-laden team while Rochester had to replace leaders Sam Borst-Smith and Mack Montague in the offseason. 

The theme all year for the Maroons has been sharing the ball, which has produced balanced scoring on the offensive end. This philosophy stems from the motion offensive run by point guard Jordan Baum. By screening and finding the open man, the Chicago offensive has been very efficient. Heading into this weekend’s matchups, the offense needs to continue to produce. Both Emory and Rochester score the ball very well, with Emory ranking in the top 20 in points per game. Chicago must also play tremendous defense to have a chance. Since holding No. 3 Wash U to a conference low in points, the Maroons have had more turnovers than their opponents in the last four games. By forcing turnovers and controlling the offensive tempo, the Maroons could come back to Chicago with two huge wins and completely overturn the UAA standings. 

When asked about how to slow down two of the best teams in the UAA, third-year forward Justin Jackson said, “We need to get back and play good transition defense. Both teams run the floor well, so limiting easy buckets is a priority. On the offensive end, we want to stay patient and run our sets. We also need to rebound well against their big men and get out to their shooters.” Going forward in UAA play, as this team of Maroons becomes more experienced and cohesive, Jackson remarked that the key to success is “the ability to stay focused on the little things and learning from our earlier mistakes.” Jackson has been an important player for Chicago this year coming off the bench. His athleticism has provided several sparks including a powering slam dunk against Rose-Hulman.

Chicago continues its four-game road swing against Emory at 8 p.m. on Friday night and then flies to upstate New York to take on Rochester at 12 p.m. EST on Sunday morning.