Chicago Opens UAA Play With 88-80 Triumph Over Washington University

Chicago Opens UAA Play With 88-80 Triumph Over Washington University

From University of Chicago Athletics

The University of Chicago men's basketball team rode a hot shooting performance from long range to an 88-80 victory in the conference opener against rival Washington University – St. Louis on Saturday.

The Maroons improved to 8-4 overall and 1-0 in the University Athletic Association (UAA). The Bears fell to 7-5 overall (0-1 UAA).

Three-point shooting was the key to UChicago's torrid first half. The hosts made 7 of 15 from beyond the arc (47 percent) while WashU went 0-for-4. Early on, it was Justin Jackson doing the most damage. The senior guard went 3-for-3 from long range and also threw down a dunk, as he accounted for 11 of the team's opening 19 points.

Both teams found their respective rhythms offensively. The Bears continually drove the lane and scored in close with their height advantage, while the Maroons set up their shooters for open threes with slick passing.

WashU closed the gap to 23-22, but that would prove to be the closest the visitors would get for the rest of the game. Three-pointers by senior guard Max Jacobs and first-year forward Zach Munson followed by an and-one layup from senior guard Noah Karras brought the lead back up to 32-22.

Back-to-back baskets by junior guard Cole Schmitz pushed the advantage to 40-28. Ultimately, both teams shot over 51 percent on field goals in the first half. The home side went into the break leading 47-34. The transition game was strong for UChicago, converting six WashU turnovers into 12 points.

The two sides traded a three and layup each in the early resumption. However, the Maroons steadily built up to their biggest lead of the game at 59-40. Starting at the sizable deficit, the Bears stepped up their urgency with a full-court trap and faster play in all phases. It paid dividends with a 16-2 run that chopped the deficit down to 61-56.

But the home team didn't panic. Instead, they turned to sophomore forward Dominic Laravie to lead the charge. Laravie was a constant threat in the lane and outside the arc, and he accounted for 11 points in-a-row to push his side up to 73-65. Only one game after posting a career high in points (20 vs. Millikin University), the sophomore went off for 24 points, including 16 in the second half.

Junior guard Mattia Colangelo provided more breathing room soon after. He was fouled on a trey attempt and made two at the line. Then on the next time down the floor, he buried a three from the right wing.

Jordan Baum made sure the offense was humming. The junior point guard dropped dimes all over the court in impressive fashion to his teammates, totaling 11 assists overall. He was particularly effective going the other way out of turnovers – UChicago racked up 25 points off 13 WashU miscues.

With the double-digit lead well in hand, the Maroons salted away the last four minutes of the contest.

Laravie nabbed six offensive rebounds to go with his scoring output. Karras contributed 12 points. Baum's line featured 11 assists, eight rebounds and four points. Jackson and Jacobs accounted for 11 points each.

It marked the third time this year Baum has reached double-digit assists. He came into the day ranked fifth in the nation with 7.3 assists per game.

UChicago shot 46.5 percent from the field, 40 percent from three (12-30) and 71.4 percent from free throw line (10-14). WashU converted 53.4 percent of its field goals, 23.1 percent of its threes (3-13), and 83.3 percent from charity stripe (15-18).

The Maroons won the rebounding battle (39-31) for the 11th time in 12 games this season.