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January 4, 2018

Men's Basketball Experiences Rocky Start

While the majority of University of Chicago students were at home enjoying their winter breaks, the UChicago men’s basketball team was at work. They played five games over the break but were disappointed to finish 1–4 during the stretch. Their main struggles occurred away from home, with the Maroons still remaining winless on their travels. They appear to enjoy the comforts of Ratner with a 4–2 record at home.  

In their most recent game, UChicago was well beaten by Denison University. Denison controlled the game for the vast majority of the time while the Maroons struggled with their shots out of the gate. The team only shot 10 of 31 in the first half, which resulted in a 15-point deficit at halftime. However, the Maroons did attempt a comeback, cutting the deficit back to seven points with eight minutes to play, but they were unable to take advantage of the momentum with Denison executing a 9–0 run in response, putting Denison in a position to comfortably win the game. 

The cold shooting in the first half is what ended up costing the team, as the Maroons finished with a respectable shooting percentage of 43.9 percent, which is above their season average. Fourth-year Collin Barthel led the way with a team-high 17 points and a team-high 7 rebounds. This loss concluded the non-conference schedule with a disappointing record of 4–7. 

The team is looking forward to the upcoming conference schedule as a chance to restart this season. Second-year forward Sam Sustacek admits that “the start to the season has been unfortunate,” but he is looking forward to the opportunity to “start the season over again with the conference schedule.” 

The Maroons face a difficult battle in their first game of the conference season against rival Wash U. Wash U is coming into conference play with a 9–2 record and a top 10 ranking. UChicago’s defense will have their hands full with Wash U’s blistering offense that is averaging 83.3 points per game. The key to slowing down this attack lies in stopping the Bears’ fourth-year forward Andrew Sanders. Sanders, team captain, is averaging 19 points per game on an extremely efficient shooting percentage of 55.9 percent. It’ll be a difficult defensive assignment for the Maroons to deal with. Hopefully UChicago is able to hang in tough and claim an upset win.  

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