This weekend Chicago (14–5, 6–2 UAA) went 2–0, beating Case Western Reserve (14–4, 5–2) and Carnegie Mellon (10–8, 1–6) at home. This weekend also marked the halfway point in the season for the Maroons, who only have seven regular season games left, all of which are inter-conference.
The South Siders faced Case on Friday, the first game after their opponents snagged a huge win on the road against No. 12 Emory.
“Going into Case we knew that they were very good at setting ball screens and were going to use that to their advantage to open up lanes to drive and kick to their shooters,” said third-year guard Scott Herlihy. “The fact that our perimeter players and posts did well on those screens was vital for our success so the other players on the court didn’t have to leave the shooters to help.”
However, the Spartans were able to have some success through driving from the top spots on the perimeter. In fact, after going down 27–11 midway through the first half, this is what the visiting team relied on to get them back into the game.
Nevertheless, the Maroons were able to push back late in the first half, scoring 11 points in just over a minute and a half. Relying on the sharpshooting of third-year guard Jordan Smith and third-year forward Alex Voss, Chicago was able to go back to the locker room with a 44–34 lead.
After the break, the South Siders’ defense forced Case into taking bad shots, resulting in a shooting percentage for the visiting team that was almost 20 percent lower than what they put up in the first half of the game. That, combined with rebounds and the ability to convert on fouls, secured the home team the win.
However, the Maroons relied on a completely different skill set to pull out their 21 point win on Sunday—three-pointers. In fact, the team was hitting nearly 50 percent from the arc, sinking 14 treys in the game.
“I think shooting well from the three point line was huge for us,” said third-year forward Nate Brooks. “Every time they went on a run, we would just hit another three pointer and it took the life out of their team.”
In fact, Carnegie was never given a chance to take the lead after going down 41–23 in the first half on the heels of three consecutive three-pointers from first-year guard Jake Fenlon. And although the visiting team was able to out-rebound the Maroons, they were not able to convert on the offensive side of the floor, shooting just 39 percent from the floor and 30 percent from beyond the arc.
So what’s the takeaway from Chicago’s stellar performance this weekend? Execution, said Brooks, because if the Maroons can execute on both sides of the floor like they did against Case and Carnegie, then they can expect a great second half of UAA play.
However, there is also room for improvement.
“One thing we need to get better at is playing as motivated as we were against Wash U and Emory all the time,” said Herlihy. “When we play with the intensity we showed in those games we are a very difficult team to beat.”
The team will have a chance to show off their intensity this Friday at Case. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.