February 13, 2017

Bittersweet Weekend for South Siders

For the men’s basketball team (13–9, 5–6 UAA), this was a weekend of mixed results as they took down No. 4-ranked Rochester (19–2, 8–2 UAA) Friday night before falling to Emory (15–7, 6–5 UAA) at home Sunday afteroon. A close three-point win Friday was followed by an 11-point loss in two high-scoring games this weekend. Knowing how inconsistency has marked the Maroons’ season, these results are unsurprising. Even with three games left in the season, Chicago does not have a chance of making the playoffs after their latest loss.

Now that the season is coming to a close, Friday night’s 90–87 win over Rochester may be the most impressive victory of the season for the Maroons,as they handed the Yellowjackets just their second loss of the season. Everything seemed to fall into place for third-year guard Jake Fenlon, who shot eight for 13 behind the arc and an impressive six of his seven shots in the second half. When the Maroons were leading 81–66 late in the second half, it seemed like victory was a sure thing. However, the Yellowjackets went on a 19–3 run and made Chicago work in the final minutes of the game.

“Every point mattered in this game,” said Fenlon, who led the team with 24 points. “When we lost focus at the end, they were able to make a run, but we kept our composure and fought to the end.”

Composure was huge for the Maroons, who made 28 of 37 free throw attempts as Rochester struggled with fouls, including an impressive eight for eight from fourth-year guard Tyler Howard.  Fourth-year forward Blaine Crawford, the team’s leading rebounder on the season, had another double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. 

Sunday did not go as well for Chicago in the last home game of the season. Despite it being Senior Day, the Maroons fell to Emory 99–88 in another high-scoring matchup. The team had no response to Emory’s Adam Gigax, who dropped 36 points. 

To celebrate their last home game, head coach Mike McGrath played all four of his fourth-years: Alex Gustafson, Waller Perez, Blaine Crawford, and Howard. Perez led the team in scoring in his final game in Hyde Park, scoring 22 points and grabbing eight rebounds. 

“Obviously, we would have liked to send the seniors out with a win,” third-year forward Collin Barthel said. “We were in it until the end, but Emory made more plays down the stretch than we did. On the bright side, we still have three games to send the seniors out correctly.”

In a curious move by McGrath, second-year guard Noah Karras has averaged just 15 minutes a game and been relegated to the bench in the three games since he scored 39 points against Case Western Reserve. During that game, Karras also set the all-time school record for three-pointers in a game with 11 as well as scoring the most points by any Maroon this season. 

The Maroons’ next game is this Friday night at Brandeis University. The squad faces off against a Brandeis team that has not been effective in the UAA, garnering just three wins and eight losses in conference play. Last time the two teams played, the South Siders defeated the Judges by ten. On Sunday, the team will travel to NYU to face the Violets. This NYU squad is 2–9 in conference play, and also fell to the Maroons just a month ago.