Chicago started its season at Lake Forest in exciting fashion this past weekend.
It didn’t take any time for the Maroons to warm up in their debut. They ran the score up quickly in the first half, entering the break up by 16 points. Third-years, guard Jordan Smith and forward Alex Voss, contributed heavily to their team’s early success, putting up 13 and six points, respectively.
However, within the first five minutes of the second half, the Foresters went on a run to close the deficit to nine points. Lake Forest also stepped up its defense, holding the Maroons to a relatively low-scoring half and forcing a number of turnovers.
“They made difficult shots and really took advantage of the few times we made mistakes,” said second-year forward Blaine Crawford. “With that came momentum on their side, which makes it tough to keep a large lead and helps them get fired up to climb back into the game.”
Crawford added 10 points and five rebounds in the post for the South Siders.
Nevertheless, the Maroons held off Lake Forest’s rally by sinking six of their last eight free throws to seal the 75–68 victory.
Overall, the game proved to be an encouraging preview of this team’s skill.
“We shot the ball well from the floor and showcased the overall athleticism and ability we have,” Voss said. “We also rebounded the ball extremely well on both ends.”
Voss finished with seven points and 11 rebounds. Smith, however, carried Chicago with 27 points on 10/15 field goal shooting.
In fact, the South Siders beat the Foresters heavily in both rebounding and shooting percentage, out-rebounding them 40–21 and outshooting them in both field goals (58.1 percent to 38.7 percent) and three-pointers (38.9 percent to 16.7 percent). And yet, the stat line also showed a troubling statistic. Chicago turned the ball over 22 times while only forcing their opponents into seven turnovers.
“We need to take care of the ball and work as one unit on defense rather than individuals,” said Voss.
The Maroons next play against Dominican this Tuesday. The Stars (0–1) lost their first game against Lawrence this past weekend by a score of 66–49, and the last time the South Siders played Dominican was in 2004, when Chicago won by a score of 65–55.
“The key to winning against Dominican, like Lake Forest, is going to be working harder than the other team,” Crawford said. “We need to focus particularly on loose balls and rebounds—after that comes keeping our heads and composure throughout the entire game. Our offense usually comes, so long as we don’t rush anything and keep our balanced plan of attack.”
Chicago tips off at Dominican at 7 p.m. later today.