The University of Chicago’s two basketball teams have given fans plenty of reason for optimism, but their records leave something to be desired. The men started strong this season, opening with three straight wins and getting off to a 5–4 start. Their season took a sharp downwards turn when the team lost five straight games. Heading into the weekend, it was clear changes would need to be made. Head coach Mike McGrath did just that by tinkering with his rotation in order to find a spark. McGrath went with an eight-man rotation on Sunday against New York University (NYU). Five of his eight players saw the court for at least 28 minutes of action, including second-year guard Elliot Paschal, who returned to the lineup this weekend against Brandies on Friday night following a two-game absence.
Paschal’s return was a huge boost for an offense that had been struggling to get shots to fall. He finished the game with 18 points in 34 minutes. Fourth-year guard Brandon Beckman chipped in with 19 points of his own, adding five rebounds and an assist to his final stat line. The surprise hero in Sunday’s contest against NYU, however, was first-year guard Thomas Kurowski. Despite playing only 12 minutes on Sunday, Kurowski scored 11 points, with seven of them coming from the charity stripe. Meanwhile, fourth-year forward Zach Munson contributed to the win despite his struggles from the field. Though he hit only one shot in eight attempts, Munson grabbed a season-high 12 rebounds. These efforts propelled UChicago to a convincing 70–57 win over NYU, which snapped their five-game losing skid. Their next game is on Friday, January 28, where they will battle a Case Western Reserve University squad that is 13–2 this season. This game has “revenge game” potential, as graduate UChicago graduate transfer Ignas Masiulionis will get the chance to face his former Case Western team. Tipoff will take place at 5:30 p.m.
The women’s basketball team headed into their matchup against NYU hoping to begin a new win streak after a 64–58 win against Brandeis on Friday. The team knew this would be a tough matchup—NYU was off to a perfect 13–0 start entering Sunday’s game and ranked No. 4/9 in DIII hoops. The Maroons were ready to fight, however, trailing by one at halftime and entering the fourth quarter with a lead. The game plan from head coach Maria Williamson was much different to that of men’s head coach Mike McGrath. Williamson had a much larger rotation, which led to multiple players getting involved on the scoreboard. Third-year guard Peyton Van Soest led the team with 11 points on 50 percent shooting, including three three-pointers. Right behind her was fellow guard Grace Hynes, who scored 10 points in a whopping 37 minutes of play. Every player who entered the game registered points, which kept NYU on its toes for much of the game.
Despite the all-around solid effort, the Maroons fell to NYU 72–64. NYU forward Jenny Walker scored 12 of her 14 points in the fourth quarter, allowing NYU to escape an upset at the hands of the Maroons. Of the Maroons’ seven losses this season, only two have been by more than 11 points. While fourth quarters have been a point of weakness for the team, there is plenty of reason to believe this team could make some noise heading into the second half of the season. They will attempt to do so when they take on Case Western at 7:30 p.m. on January 28.