December 1, 2009

With win over Carleton, Chicago reaches 4–0

Men’s basketball put 61 points on the board against the Carleton for the second year running.

This year, however, the Maroons were able to pull off the 61–56 victory and earn payback for last year’s 62–61 loss in Minnesota.

Last year’s loss to the Knights was one of 12 consecutive losses to start the season for the Maroons. This year, Chicago has had a better start, with four consecutive home wins already. Fourth-year guard Jake Pancratz noted the differences between last year’s squad and the current team.

“This year we have been able to pull out wins in close games—something we did not do last year—and I think it is a testament to our defensive work in the preseason and players’ ability to make plays down the stretch,” he said.

Pancratz turned in another solid performance, scoring 13 points on three for eight from beyond the arc, and adding four assists and three boards.

Chicago’s key player, though, was second-year forward Steve Stefanou, who scored 19 points, hauled down nine boards, and added four assists. Stefanou’s hustle for loose balls early helped to set the pace for his teammates.

After a hot start to take a 7–0 advantage by the 17:10 mark of the first half, the Maroons went into the first of many two-plus-minute scoring slumps. The droughts in scoring for the Maroons allowed the Knights to close the gap and knot the score 27–27 at halftime.

The second half got off to an ominous start for Chicago as the Knights scored an easy bucket off a turnover in the back court, giving Carleton a brief two-point lead. The Maroons answered with a lay-up by Stefanou and then a three-point bucket at the 18:32 mark from fourth-year forward John Kinsella, which gave the Maroons a lead they would not relinquish.

The Maroons could have easily gotten flustered by some curious calls and non-calls by the officials or the fact that they lost the turnover margin 12–7. However, they stayed poised and pulled out the victory against the Knights to cap an unblemished home stand.

Next up for the Maroons will be their first road game of the season. They travel to Wheaton (3–0) tomorrow for a match-up of two undefeated teams.