This weekend, the University of Chicago men’s basketball team (14–6, 6–3 UAA) split a pair of match-ups, beating Case Western Reserve University (14–6, 5–4), but dropping one to Carnegie Mellon University (12–8, 3–6) on the road.
The Maroons faced Case on Friday, hoping to repeat their decisive win from the week prior.
“Our game plan for Case was to defend ball screens as a team and crash the offensive boards for second chance points,” said second-year guard Tyler Howard.
However, despite starting the game on a 10–2 run, the Maroons were never able to build up a large lead. Even though the South Siders shot 55.2 percent from the field in the first half, the Spartans were able to keep up by shooting 72.7 percent from the field, and they kept pounding out points in the paint.
In fact, with 33 seconds left in the second half, the game was pulled within two points on the heels of a 6–0 run from the home team. However, the Maroons were able to hold on to their slim lead by turning over Case two possessions in a row and converting when the Spartans fouled them to stop the clock.
“The reason we beat Case was because we played unselfish on offense, which got us easy shots and on defense we got stops down the stretch,” Howard said. “In fact, the biggest strength of out team right now is defense.”
However, the Maroons were not so lucky in their second game against Carnegie on Sunday. After coming out to an 18–17 lead, the Maroons quickly fell behind after a 14–0 run by the Tartans.
“This week’s game plan against Carnegie was to simply outwork them physically,” said second-year forward Waller Perez. “We knew they had just beat Wash U so we knew we had to play even harder.”
However, the South Siders were unable to contain their opponents, as Carnegie Mellon outrebounded them 37–31, and outscored them in the paint by a devastating margin of 34–16. Furthermore, the Tartans blocked 11 of the Maroons’ shots, causing Chicago to shoot a season low 31.1 percent from the field.
So what’s the takeaway from the team’s performance this weekend?
“As a team we learned that we have to respect every team we play equally,” said Perez. “We have to come ready to play regardless of what the other team’s record says.”
This is a lesson the team has a chance to show this weekend, as they are playing Rochester and Emory on the road - two teams they beat earlier in the season.
Tip-off for Rochester is set for 7 p.m. on Friday.