Maroons men's basketball avenge loss with 81-73 victory over Case

CHICAGO, Ill. -- The University of Chicago men's basketball team avenged last weekend's three-point road loss at Case Western Reserve University with an 81-73 home win over the Spartans on Friday.

The Maroons improved their record to 9-10 overall and 3-5 in the UAA. The Spartans (9-10 overall, 2-6 UAA) lost for the sixth time in their last seven contests.

UChicago took a definitive 16-5 lead in the first seven minutes of the night and never trailed at any point in the game. Point guard Royce Muskeyvalley utilized his athleticism to weave into the lane for layups and also dished to teammates. The biggest lead of the half was 14 points at 27-13.

Meanwhile, Case struggled with its outside shooting, only making 3 of 13 attempts from beyond the three-point arc. The jumpers weren't falling, so the Spartans turned to the inside and relied on their superior height to score.

Case shot 37 percent from the field in the first half compared to UChicago's 44 percent. Maroons forward Sam Gage hit a number of deep jumpers (nine points), as did fellow forward Alex Pyper (eight points) in the first 20 minutes of play.

In the second half, the Spartans turned to forward Austin Fowler for a spark, and Fowler delivered with 13 points. Case became more active on the boards and got within six points at 40-34. Pyper put a halt to the rally by drawing a foul on a three-point attempt and nailing all three tries from the free throw line.

The score stood at 45-40 when UChicago scored eight unanswered points. The highlight of the run came when guard Jordan Smith stole the ball and threw down a two-handed slam dunk on the fastbreak to go up 51-40.

The Maroons led by as many as 17 points and withstood some late treys by Case to cruise in for a comfortable eight-point victory. UChicago was very careful with the ball, committing a season-low two turnovers in the game. That ball protection resulted in an 18-0 advantage in points off turnovers.

UChicago Team Stats & Leaders
Field-goal percentage - 44.8 percent (30-67)
Three-point percentage - 33.3 percent (6-18)
Free-throw percentage - 83.3 percent (15-18)
Alex Pyper
- 17 points, 4 rebounds
Charlie Hughes - 16 points, 3 rebounds
Wayne Simon - 13 points
Sam Gage - 11 points

Case Western Reserve Team Stats & Leaders
Field-goal percentage - 46.0 percent (29-63)
Three-point percentage - 37.5 percent (9-24)
Free-throw percentage - 85.7 percent (6-7)
Julien Person - 14 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists
Austin Fowler - 13 points, 7 rebounds
Brian Klements - 10 points, 12 rebounds

NEXT GAME: Sunday, Feb. 3 - Carnegie Mellon University at UChicago, Noon.