The men's basketball team came back from a trip to New York and Pennsylvania, with a victory, a defeat, and feelings of deja-vu. The Maroons dropped a tough 55-52 match against a tough Rochester team, only four days after losing 54-51 against the same team. However, the team did show continued supremacy over Carnegie Mellon University, downing them for the second time in ten days with a score of 87-73.
The Maroons arrived at Rochester on Friday and fought hard in a game that saw the lead change sides a total of eleven times. Early in the game, the Maroons led by as much as six after fourth year forward Jon Poyer hit consecutive three-point jumpers to give the U of C an 8 to 2 lead. The Yellow Jackets managed to come back and take a nine-point lead deep into the second quarter. After continued efforts by third year Derek Reich and sophomore Scott Fisher, the Maroons came right back into it with five minutes remaining. The last five minutes of the game displayed superb defensive standings by both teams, with a total of only seven points scored in this lapse. Unfortunately, it was Rochester who took the best of them, outscoring the Maroons 6 to 1 in the last five minutes. The final sequence of the game is what made it truly heart-breaking. With only a second remaining in the game clock and with the Maroons down by three points, Poyer made a majestic pass down three quarters of the court finding Tyler Smithson, who launched a three-point attempt that would have tied the game. However, the ball bounced off the right part of the rim at the buzzer, as the crowd of seven hundred at Louis Alexander Palestra collectively sighed in relief.
Fortunately, the Maroons rebounded from their worst offensive performances of the season in good style, pouring in 87 points against the Carnegie Mellon Tartans to tie their best scoring total of the season. The margin of victory appeared to be a poor indicator of the game, because even though the Maroons only won by fourteen points, they kept a very substantial lead all throughout the game. Reich sank a three-point jumper two-and-a-half minutes into the game and the Maroons never looked back after that. They kept the lead throughout the game with very little risk of losing it as the team shot 50 percent both from the field and behind the three point arc.
14-time All UAA Player of the year, Derek Reich, was the clear star of the road trip for the Maroons, scoring 27 points and grabbing nine rebounds against Rochester and afterwards pouring in 25 and taking 16 boards in the victory over Carnegie Mellon. The 6-8, 235 lb forward continued a series of impressive performances as he is averaging 25 points in his last five games, a nine point increment to his 16 point mean in the first five games of the season. It was the sixth time this season that Reich garnered All UAA honors.
The Maroons play Emory on Friday night and Case Western on Sunday afternoon, both home games that are definitely impossible to miss. The reason for this is that if the streak of repeated scores continues for the men's basketball team, we are in for two joyous home victories. The Maroons defeated the Eagles by a score of 86-65 and downed the Spartans 77 to 68, in away games played in mid-January.