The University of Chicago men’s basketball team opened up their season this past week with two away contests versus the Division I DePaul Blue Demons and the Division III Millikin Big Blue.
In their exhibition game against the Blue Demons, the Maroons dropped the contest 84 to 55, but kept the game close in the first half. The South Siders pulled to within two at 28-26 with five minutes left in the first half. Second-year Zach Munson hit a trifecta of threes to keep UChicago close early. However, DePaul used turnovers to get out and run, turning the margin into 15 at halftime. The Maroons also received significant contributions from first-year Bryce Hopkins (eight points, six rebounds, three assists), fourth-year Jordan Baum (two points, four rebounds, four assists), and fourth-year Mattia Colangelo (seven points, four rebounds). 13 threes, shot at a clip of 39.4 percent, kept the South Siders in the contest.
UChicago officially opened up their season Sunday afternoon, snagging an 85–75 victory at Millikin. Fourth-year Cole Schmitz scored 25 points in 26 minutes, hitting six of eight from three. Third-year Dominic Laravie (16 points, two rebounds, three assists), fourth-year Jordan Baum (10 points, eight rebounds, and nine assists), and first-year Bryce Hopkins (12 points, five rebounds) were all in double figures. The Maroons gained the edge in 3pt percentage (43.4 percent versus the Big Blue’s 23.8 percent) and fast break points (16 versus seven).
Said Baum of the game, “Team defense and rebounding was huge today against a team like Millikin that is very tall across the board. We also had 21 assists on 31 field goals which really shows the team’s unselfishness and ability to find the open man.”
The Maroons will play nine more nonconference games before they start a difficult UAA schedule. Fourth-year Joran Baum is looking forward to the rest of nonconference as they prepare for conference play. Baum stated, “We play a really difficult non-conference schedule this year which is going to prepare us very well for the start of UAA games. The team has a lot of confidence in what we can do, and as long as we can stick to our strengths and focus on improving this will be a very fun season. I think a lot of guys got some good experience last year and are really looking to take a step forward this season. That experience is really going to help us at the end of close games in closing out our opponents.”
The Maroons play at home this Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. against the Lake Forest Bears.