The men’s basketball team finished a weekend trip along the East Coast with two conference losses. Barely bested by Brandeis (59–53) in Boston on Friday, the Maroons fell well short of NYU (62—47) two days later. The team fell to 5–11 for the season, and 2–3 in the UAA.
The Maroons continued their success from behind the arc early in their game against Brandeis, but Brandeis came in with a defensive strategy that the Maroon offense found difficult to break. Chicago shot only 30 percent from behind the arc in the second half after making half their shots from three-point range in the previous 20 minutes.
Third-year Tommy Sotos sensed the skillful tactics of Brandeis. “Offensively, we couldn’t get the sets we wanted,” he said. “They had us scouted fairly well.”
After strong defensive play and a variety of lead changes, Brandeis took a 31–25 lead going into the half.
“[At halftime,] the coaches told us we needed to go up stronger around the basket,” third-year Steve Stefanou said.
In spite of their half-time adjustments, the Maroons trailed for the entire second half. With just over five minutes remaining in the game, the Maroons found themselves 13 points behind.
To make matters worse, head coach Mike McGrath received a technical foul, a surprise considering his normally calm and collected demeanor on the court. While the call was questionable, it gave the Maroons the drive to make a comeback.
“The technical was undeserving, but it pumped us up in a different kind of way,” Stefanou said.
The Maroons then regained composure. With the help of third-years Stephen Palmtag and Matt Johnson, who led the team with 27 points, Chicago cut the lead to five with just under two minutes remaining.
“They had monstrous shots. Johnson came up with big three’s but the stretch was too large,” third-year guard Tommy Sotos said.
Indeed, it was too little too late, as the Maroons fell 59–53.
The Maroons hoped to turn around their playing for Sunday’s match up against NYU.
“You don’t want the effect of Friday night to linger into Sunday,” head coach Mike McGrath said.
Unfortunately, strong offense by NYU and lackadaisical shooting by the Maroons doomed Sunday’s match. NYU led the entire way. The Maroons were down 28–22 at halftime.
“At halftime, Coach showed his disappointment in the lack of energy and passion we played with,” first-year Derrick Davis said.
Unfortunately, instead of a shift in momentum, the Maroons continued to play poorly, shooting only 18 percent from behind the arc.
“They really took it to us in the second half,” Sotos said.
With just under 14 minutes remaining in the game, New York had a double-digit lead that they did not let go of throughout the rest of the match.
Although a win seemed out of reach, two first-years, Derrick Davis and Charlie Hughes, brought entertaining performances for the Maroons.
“[Derrick Davis] was wreaking havoc,” Sotos said. “Charlie [Hughes] really stepped it up.”
Davis led the team in scoring with 17 points.
“I was just trying to be a helpful part more than taking leadership,” Davis said.
Although the Maroons suffered two tough losses this past weekend, Stefanou is optimistic about the future.
“We’re looking forward to a week of practice and a good showing at home,” he said.
“We have to bounce back,” McGrath added.
The Maroons play Case Western Reserve University at the Ratner Center on Friday at 8 p.m.