The Maroons experienced mixed results on the road this weekend, falling to NYU on Friday night but bouncing back with a decisive win against Brandeis University on Sunday afternoon to put their record at 17–7, and 8–5 in the UAA.
The squad traveled to Manhattan to take on the Violets (19–5, 8–5 UAA) for a matchup between the third and fourth-placed teams in the UAA. The South Siders fell 72–59. Despite the offensive success in its previous few games, the squad shot only 31.8 percent from the field and struggled in the paint, scoring only 20 points compared to NYU’s 48.
Second-year forward Collin Barthel led the team in points with 14, making three shots behind the arc and adding seven rebounds. Fellow second-year Jake Fenlon added two more three pointers, one of which put the Maroons ahead 21–14 in the first half before the Violets went on a 10–0 run to take and maintain the lead for the remainder of the game.
Fourth-year guard Jordan Smith continued to make history this weekend, as he became the tenth all-time-leading scorer at UChicago in the game against NYU. After the weekend, Smith has netted 1,141 points as a Maroon.
“It was definitely a disappointing loss for us. NYU is a good team and we just didn’t do what we needed to win the game,” said third-year guard Tyler Howard, who finished the game with six points and led the team with five assists. “Getting a playoff bid becomes harder now, but the team was able to respond well against Brandeis on Sunday.”
The squad travelled down the East Coast to Boston, where it beat the Brandeis Judges (9–15, 3–10 UAA) by a score of 62–52. It was a complete turnaround from Friday, as the team shot 48 percent from the field and held the Judges to just 39.8 percent. The Maroons also won the battle in the paint 24–10 led by Barthel’s nine boards.
Chicago’s four three pointers from three different Maroons contributed to its 18–4 lead to start the game. Despite appearing to control the game with a 50–39 lead six minutes into the second half, the Judges refused to go away easily, and charged back with an 11–2 run. With their lead at only two points, the ‘Roons ended the game on a 10–2 run, sparked by dominant defense down the stretch.
Going into their last game of the year against rival Washington University in St. Louis, the Maroons stand at fourth in the UAA with the same conference record as NYU, but a worse overall record. The South Siders will need a dominant win this weekend to convince the NCAA they deserve an at-large bid to the DIII National Championships.
“The team is working hard in practice,” said second-year guard Erik Muelheims. “Right now we are focused on beating Wash U and ending the season on a high note and potentially a playoff bid.”
Tip off against Wash U is on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Ratner Athletics Center. For its final game of the regular season, the squad will honor its six seniors in a Senior Day ceremony.