MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Freshman Alex Pyper (Scottsdale, Ariz./ Chapparal) led three Maroons in double figures with 14 points as the University of Chicago men's basketball team defeated Berry College 80-52 in the opening round of the Rhodes College Christmas Invitational Saturday evening.
- Chicago (6-4) never trailed in the contest. The Maroons opened up a 40-17 halftime lead and remained on top by at least 16 points throughout the second half.
- Seniors Matt Johnson (Ann Arbor, Mich./ Pioneer) and Michael Sustarsic (Liberty, Ind./ Union County) joined Pyper in double digits with 10 points each. All three players sunk a pair of 3-point baskets.
- Lake Graham led Berry (0-8) with a game-high 24 points, while Nassar Almulla added 18.
- Freshman Royce Muskeyvalley (Rock Island, Ill./ Rock Island) dished out a career-high seven assists.
- Chicago outshot Berry 48% to 34% from the floor.
- The Maroons committed only four turnovers.
- Chicago and Berry met for the first time.
- Berry Head Coach Jeff Haarlow is the grandson of former UChicago two-time All-American Bill Haarlow, who was the Big Ten Conference scoring champion in 1935.
- With Saturday's victory, the Maroons assured themselves a winning record in nonconference play for the fifth time in seven years.
- Chicago will face Rhodes (7-2) in Sunday's tournament championship at 3 p.m. (ET). Rhodes got past Huntingdon College 84-59 Saturday.