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February 29, 2016

Maroons Close Season With Loss to Bears

The Maroons’ regular season came to an end at home with a 67–54 loss to rival Wash U on Saturday afternoon. The South Siders finished the season with a 17–8 overall record, and went 8–6 in the UAA. With this loss, it is highly unlikely that the team will earn a postseason bid from the NCAA.

The final game of the regular season was also senior night, as fourth-years Scott Herlihy, Nate Brooks, John Steinberg, Jordan Smith, Alex Voss, and Eric Robinson were all honored during the pregame ceremonies. The Class of 2016 will leave UChicago with an impressive 59–41 cumulative record.

After a back-and-forth start to the game, the Maroons appeared to take control with a 30–19 lead with 5:32 remaining in the first half. However, the Bears went on a 10–0 run to close out the half, cutting Chicago’s lead to one point going into the second.

Wash U then continued its offensive tear with nine more points, to open the half with 19 total unanswered points. The Maroons would not regain their bearings for the remainder of the game, shooting just 37.5 percent from the field and 25.9 percent from behind the arc.

Third-year guard Tyler Howard led the team with 18 points, six rebounds, and five assists, while Smith was right behind with 12 points. Smith will end his Chicago basketball career as the 10th all-time leading scorer in the history of Maroon basketball.

“The seniors really mean a lot to this team,” first-year guard Justin Jackson said. “Jordan [Smith] did a lot for the team, but so did every senior. It’s a great group of guys to be around and play basketball with.”

The team was hurting for depth as the game wore on, as second-year guard Jake Fenlon was out with an illness, taking away one of the Maroons’ best outside scoring threats. Herlihy saw increased playing time in Fenlon’s absence, scoring five points off the bench in the final game of his career.

“Obviously, we did not get the result we wanted in our last game,” second-year Collin Barthel said. “That shouldn’t take away from all of the team’s accomplishments this season. We will use this loss as a springboard for next season.”

The highlights of this season include a 13-game winning streak and being ranked as high as 13th in the country. However, as good as the season was, the South Siders are certainly going to miss the collection of leaders that played their last game on Saturday.

Smith has already been mentioned as an offensive spark for the team, but he’s not the only member of the graduating class that contributed significantly to this squad. Since Brooks’s second year, he has started all games he played in and earned Honorable Mention All-UAA as a third-year. Herlihy was a walk-on as a third-year, which is almost unheard of on the squad, and even played in all 24 games last season.

Robinson, although plagued with injury throughout much of his career, was efficient, shooting more than 57 percent in his last two seasons. Steinberg, although he didn’t play this past season, was an integral part of the team and is a three-time UAA All-Academic player. Finally, Voss started every game of his upperclassman campaign and achieved second-team All-UAA as a third-year, and his 10.9 points and 7.7 rebounds per game this year will certainly lead to a UAA accolade.

The NCAA will host a selection show on its website this Monday, announcing its 62-team field and revealing the postseason fate of the Maroons.

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