The men’s basketball team dropped its season opener Monday night 74–73, as a free-throw by Dominican’s Marquis Turley with seven seconds left gave the Stars a one-point win. Leading at halftime, the Maroons faltered in the second half. Down by six at the 4:38 mark, Chicago tied the game at 73 with 31 seconds remaining. Turley, a 2010 First Team All-Conference guard, sunk one of two free throws in the final seconds, sealing the Maroons’ defeat.
Third-year forwards Tom Williams and Steve Stefanou, both returning honorable-mention All-Conference players last season, led scoring with 22 and 13 points respectively. Dominican’s top contributors were Jovan Turley with 16 points and Marquis Turley wiith 11.
Despite losing its first game, the team showed signs of promise. “I felt as good as I can about a performance in a game that we lost. There were incredibly good signs for the rest of the year,” said coach Mike McGrath, entering his 12th season. Stressing a “balanced [offensive] performance,” the coaches have indicated a need for better ball control, which they are confident the team will achieve as the season progresses.
In practice, the Maroons have been “focusing on our offensive sets to get more quality shots and we’ve also been working to protect the ball,” said Stefanou, who contributed two assists, two steals, and a block in 26 minutes on the floor.
Defensively, the coaches and the players agree that while they played solid early on, they must maintain tenacity for the full 60 minutes. “Mistakes on the defensive side of the ball,” according to Williams, as well as “costly turnovers” are what caused the second-half Dominican rally. Williams was not satisfied with his six rebounds, two assists and two blocks, stating, “I would have liked to be more active”.
McGrath and the rest of the squad play their first home game Friday against Hanover College at Ratner Athletic Center, 7 p.m.