January 13, 2014

Maroons put up fight against No. 7 Wash U

Heading into their first UAA game against No. 7 Wash U (10–2), the Maroons (7–4) were coming off a two-game winning streak. On Saturday, that streak ended with an 80–69 loss to the Bears.

“Wash U really came out and executed their game plan. Both teams were playing hard, but they did what they wanted on offense, and we didn’t take it away as we had practiced,” said second-year forward Alex Voss.

The difference between the two teams’ ability to play within their respective offenses was most notable in the beginning of the game, as the Maroons got off to a rough start, giving up a 21–3 lead to the Bears in the first few minutes. However, Chicago rallied back, largely due to fourth-year forward Charlie Hughes, who poured in 16 points in the first half, and the ability of several members of the team to knock down three-pointers.

In fact, Chicago was trailing by 14 later in the first half when they went on a 10–2 run, propelled by the sharp shooting of Voss and fourth-year forward Sam Gage. The Maroons went into halftime only trailing by five points as the scoreboard read 41–36.

“The team fought back into it. After being down by 18 so quickly at the start, we came together to play even harder,” Voss said.

However, Chicago’s first half push was not enough. After exchanging baskets for most of the second half, the Maroons got into foul trouble, and Wash U was able to convert on ten of their 11 attempts from the line, ultimately winning by 11.

The stats depict a closer game than the score might show. Although Chicago shot a lower field-goal percentage and pulled down fewer rebounds than its opponent, it had higher three-point and free-throw percentages and turned the ball over less than Wash U did.

However, what was most notable about this contest was the Maroons’ reliance on their long-range shooting to get them back in the game. Nevertheless, Hughes doesn’t think that they rely too much on the three-ball.

“We’ve been shooting it very well, but I don’t think that our success is necessarily dependent on making threes,” he said. “We’re athletic and scrappy, and I think that’s more important to our success.”

Even though Chicago didn’t come away victorious, this game still affirmed that the Maroons are a force to be reckoned with.

“This weekend our team learned that we can compete with anyone. We have the talent, and we play hard, but if we play smart as well, then we can beat anyone in the league,” Voss said.

The Maroons will next battle NYU at home on Friday. Tip-off is at 8 p.m.