CHICAGO, Ill. – An exciting offensive game came right down to the wire, and the University of Chicago men's basketball team converted its chances in overtime to outlast North Park University 90-86 on Wednesday.
The Maroons ran their season record to 7-3 while the Vikings (6-2) had their six-game win streak snapped.
UChicago possessed the size advantage from the opening tip, and the home team tried to maximize it early by steering the ball into the paint. The Maroons made three layups to start the game. But North Park forced three turnovers on four possessions, which led directly to transition points the other way. The Vikings went ahead 11-6 at that junction. Junior guard Jordan Smith kept UChicago right in the thick with a three-pointer and then an and-one three-point play in the paint.
The Maroons began getting open on the weak side and hit several open three-pointers as a result to grab the lead 22-19. Nine-straight points from UChicago pushed the advantage to 33-27. Smith hit back-to-back jumpers in the run and freshman forward Collin Barthel nailed a trey. North Park was undeterred, however, making a run of its own to recapture the lead 38-37. Barthel immediately responded with another jumper from long distance. Junior forward Nate Brooks scored a putback layup with several seconds left in the half to make the score 43-42 in favor of North Park at the break.
The Vikings shot an impressive 54.8 percent from the field in the half. They were led by Juwan Henry, who used his speed and athleticism to hit difficult shots and rack up 12 points. Meanwhile, UChicago kept pace at 48.5 percent shooting. Smith tallied 10 points and sophomore guard Tyler Howard contributed eight points on his drives to the hoop.
In the second half, UChicago turned up its defensive effort to slow down North Park's athleticism. The renewed energy paid off. The home team opened the half on a 10-2 run over a six-minute span. Junior forward Alex Voss scored the first five points and Brooks accounted for the other five, which included a two-handed dunk in the lane.
Smith splashed a three-pointer in transition to make the score 66-55 with eight minutes remaining. That's when North Park began to make its move. The visitors made five-straight shots to erase the deficit and snatch the advantage, 72-71. Sophomore forward Waller Perez made a jumper and was fouled, converting the three-point play at 74-72. A steal, transition layup and two free throws turned the score back in North Park's favor at 76-74. Smith then made a jumper through contact to tie the game with 17 seconds left. Henry missed a long three-point attempt in the final seconds to send the game to overtime.
The two sides exchanged three-pointers on consecutive possessions about midway through the five-minute overtime. As they had all game long, the Maroons continued to draw contact and wore a path to the free throw line. UChicago made its final nine free throws in overtime. A missed Maroon layup in the last 11 seconds kept North Park alive and the Vikings swished a trey immediately to draw within 88-86. Barthel came up clutch for the home side, catching a long in-bounds pass and making two free throws to cement a four-point lead. The visitors missed a three at the buzzer to end the contest.
The game featured seven ties and 14 lead changes. UChicago held the rebounding edge 37-33 while committing 13 turnovers to North Park's 10 turnovers. The charity stripe leaned heavily in UChicago's favor – the Maroons made 25 of 37 free throws compared to 10 of 14 by the Vikings.
UChicago Team Stats & Leaders
Field-goal Percentage – 50.0 percent (28-56)
Three-point Percentage – 36.0 percent (9-25)
Free-throw Percentage – 67.6 percent (25-37)
Jordan Smith (Guard, Jr.) – 23 points
Tyler Howard (Guard, So.) – 13 points, 5 assists
Nate Brooks (Forward, Jr.) – 12 points, 8 rebounds
North Park Team Stats & Leaders
Field-goal Percentage – 50.0 percent (34-68)
Three-point Percentage – 32.0 percent (8-25)
Free-throw Percentage – 71.4 percent (10-14)
Juwan Henry – 26 points, 5 assists
Jordan Robinson – 26 points, 9 rebounds
T.J. Cobbs – 15 points, 13 rebounds, 3 steals
- Saturday, January 3 – IIT at UChicago, 3 PM