Fast start to second half propels UChicago men's basketball to 79-59 win over Carnegie Mellon

CHICAGO, Ill. -- The University of Chicago men's basketball team blasted off to a 25-5 start in the second half and rode that momentum to a 79-59 win over visiting Carnegie Mellon University on Sunday.

The Maroons evened their record at 10-10 overall and are now 4-5 in UAA competition. The Tartans dropped to 4-16 overall, 1-8 in the UAA.

CMU was the fast starter following the Noon tip-off. The Tartans hit their first four shots to go up 12-2 in the opening 3:30. UChicago struggled offensively and looked a half step slow on the floor.

The visitors were leading 20-10 eight minutes into the game. But Charlie Hughes proved to be the spark that the Maroons needed by creating his own offense. The junior forward scored 13 points in the first half on a variety of pull-up jumpers and layups on drives to the basket. He made 6 of 8 shots in the first half and 8 of 10 overall in the game.

On the defensive side of the ball, UChicago began to turn up the pressure. Point guard Wayne Simon was the catalyst, swiping four steals in his first 10 minutes of action. He also tallied nine points in the half, using a three-pointer and another jumper to tie the score at 26-26.

While Simon and Hughes stayed hot offensively, CMU cooled precipitously. The Tartans missed eight-straight shots and turned the ball over three times during an eight-minute stretch. UChicago capitalized to take a 35-28 lead into halftime. The Maroons shot an efficient 53.6 percent in the half while the Tartans shot 32.0 percent from the field.

UChicago came bursting out of the gate in the second half, scoring 21 points in the first 5:28. The home team led by as many as 27 points with its offensive in a groove. Rebounding was another key element as the Maroons outboarded the Tartans 24-16 in the second half.

The Maroons ended up with 12 steals in the game, including six by Simon. Their seven treys also moved UChicago's record to 9-3 on the season when the team has made at least six three-pointers.

UChicago Team Stats & Leaders
Field-goal percentage - 50.9 percent (29-57)
Three-point percentage - 35.0 percent (7-20)
Free-throw percentage - 58.3 percent (14-24)
Charlie Hughes
- 17 points, 6 rebounds
Wayne Simon - 15 points, 6 steals, 3 rebounds
Royce Muskeyvalley - 10 points
Alex Pyper - 10 points

Carnegie Mellon Team Stats & Leaders
Field-goal percentage - 34.0 percent (18-53)
Three-point percentage - 27.3 percent (6-22)
Free-throw percentage - 77.3 percent (17-22)
Asad Meghani - 14 points, 4 rebounds
Rob Mohen - 11 points, 6 rebounds

NEXT GAME: Friday, Feb. 8 - Rochester University at UChicago, 8 PM.