Having compiled a 2-11 record on the road this season, the Chicago men's basketball team is glad to be done with busses and airplanes.
The Maroons split their final weekend road trip of the year with a close 67-73 loss to Emory University and a 90-79 drubbing of Case Western Reserve University. Chicago also split the season series with Emory but swept both games against Case.
The previous week Chicago had finally built up some momentum after putting up a fearsome resistance against the number one-ranked and undefeated University of Rochester on February 6 and then snapping a four-game losing streak in grand fashion against a hapless Carnegie Mellon University squad two days later.
As the teams record shows, the road has not been too friendly to the Maroons this year. Chicago won just one University Athletic Association game away from the Ratner Center all year and is already out of the hunt for the conference title. At this point the Maroons are playing only for pride, self-improvement, and the chance to end the 2003-2004 season on a winning note.
"We know that we are not going to make it to the postseason, but we want to win these last few games for the seniors," said third-year Justin Waldie.
Chicago came out of the gates fast against Emory on Friday night, building up a quick 25-15 lead early, thanks to solid shooting from the perimeter. Emory, however, was determined to get revenge for its earlier loss to the Maroons in Ratner. The Eagles stormed back behind the scoring of Chase Fawsett, who scored 19 points on the night, giving his team a 38-35 halftime lead.
Chicago regained the lead with just over 15 minutes left in the game on a three-pointer from the top of the key by Waldie. The teams traded baskets until the 12:20 mark when Clayton Fuller put Emory ahead for good with a mid-range jumper. Emory would go on to win by the final score of 73-67, placing four scorers in double figures. Fourth-year Scott Fisher led the Maroons with 22 points and 9 rebounds.
The last road game of the year was on Sunday against Case Reserve, a team the Maroons had already beat this season, with a score of 58-54. The Maroons controlled the game from start to finish, building a 47-38 halftime advantage and maintaining a double-digit lead throughout the second half.
The 90-79 win snapped the four-game road losing streak for the Maroons. Third-year forward Mike Dolezal led four Maroons in double-figure scoring with 15 points. Scott Fisher poured in 12 points, while third-year guard Brian Cuttica and second-year guard Uche Okonkwo each added 11 points.
"It was great to close out the road season with a win. The road had not been too friendly to us this year, but winning this last one feels good," Fisher said.
Chicago returns home to close out the year with three games, including two this upcoming weekend, against New York University on Friday night and Brandeis University on Sunday afternoon.