Maroon men's basketball turns up offense in second half, defeats Rochester 88-81

Jordan Smith and Waller Perez
Jordan Smith and Waller Perez

CHICAGO, Ill. – The University of Chicago men's basketball team shot 70 percent from the field in the second half and held off a late rally to down University of Rochester 88-81 on Friday.

The No. 23-ranked Maroons (10-3 overall, 2-0 UAA) stretched their win streak to five games. The Yellowjackets (4-9 overall, 0-2 UAA) lost their seventh in-a-row.

Forwards Nate Brooks (Jr.) and Waller Perez (So.) were fed the ball early and often to start the game. The two combined for 10 points in the first five minutes and UChicago went ahead 12-7. After six-straight points by Rochester, junior forward Alex Voss continued his hot shooting with back-to-back threes to go back up 18-13.

Three-pointers served the Maroons quite well in the first half. The team sank 7 of 15 (46.7 percent) in the opening 20 minutes. The long-range bombs proved to be a necessity as the pesky Yellowjackets kept the score close the whole way. Guard Sam Borst-Smith sliced into the lane and carved up the Maroon defense with regularity all night, posting 30 points in the game. Junior guard Jordan Smith sank a trey with 34 seconds left, but Borst-Smith scored a layup with one second left to cut the lead to 37-36 at halftime.

UChicago shot 41.2 percent from the field in the first half while Rochester shot 46.2 percent. Perez tallied nine points for the Maroons.

The visitors came out fast with five-straight points to open the second half. A pair of layups from Brooks made the score 43-41 and Smith broke another tie with a three at 46-43. Smith caught fire in the second half for the Maroons, making 7 of 10 shots for 18 points.

Sophomore forward Blaine Crawford converted an and-one opportunity in the paint at 55-50, and Voss splashed another three in transition at 58-52. Voss made 3 of 4 from beyond the arc in the game. UChicago forced harder shots and created turnovers to kick start a 21-7 run.

The Maroons looked to be in control at 71-57 after a Voss layup. However, Rochester had other ideas. The visitors kept driving the lane with Borst-Smith and kicked out for big three-pointers to crawl ever closer in the final minutes. The Yellowjackets scored 12 points in 64 seconds to get within 85-81. UChicago's free-throw shooting woes aided the rally (16-for-32 in the game), but the home team made three free throws in the final 17 seconds to preserve the win.

UChicago shot at least 50 percent on field goals for the third time this year, thanks in large part to its 70.8 percent mark in the second half. The Maroons outrebounded their opponent for the fifth-straight game, 41-33. The home side tied a season-high with 10 three-pointers and recorded its highest three-point percentage of the year (45.5).

UChicago Team Stats & Leaders
Field-goal Percentage – 53.4 percent (31-58)
Three-point Percentage – 45.5 percent (10-22)
Free-throw Percentage – 50.0 percent (16-32)
Jordan Smith (Guard, Jr.) – 21 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists
Waller Perez (Forward, So.) – 18 points, 5 rebounds
Alex Voss (Forward, Jr.) – 16 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists

Rochester Team Stats & Leaders
Field-goal Percentage – 46.2 percent (30-65)
Three-point Percentage – 30.0 percent (6-20)
Free-throw Percentage – 78.9 percent (15-19)
Sam Borst-Smith – 30 points, 5 rebounds
Jared Seltzer – 14 points, 4 rebounds

NEXT GAME:

  • Sunday, January 18 – Emory University at UChicago, 12 PM