UChicago men's basketball stretches win streak to six with 80-74 victory over Emory

Jordan Smith and Alex Voss
Jordan Smith and Alex Voss

CHICAGO, Ill. – Despite a long offensive drought to start the second half, the No. 23-ranked University of Chicago men's basketball team rallied back to defeat No. 5-ranked Emory University 80-74 on Sunday.

The Maroons (11-3 overall, 3-0 UAA) won their sixth-straight game, dropping the Eagles to 11-3 overall and 1-2 in conference play.

Emory came out of the gate with an aggressive zone defense that carried through the entire game. Neither side could get much rhythm offensively as they combined to shoot under 28 percent for the first eight minutes. Freshman guard Jake Fenlon buried a three-pointer at 14-9, and junior guard Scott Herlihy sunk his three from the corner at the end of the shot clock to make the score 20-15.

The Maroons began to figure out the zone more as the half went on. Quick and intuitive passing by junior guard Jordan Smith led to four assists. One of his passes found a cutting Waller Perez, and the sophomore forward came in hard for the baseline lay-in at 24-17. Soon after, sophomore forward Blaine Crawford beat the zone and threw down a two-handed slam at 28-19.

Despite facing a double-digit deficit, Emory stayed active on offense and caught the Maroons flatfooted in transition on a number of occasions. The Eagles buried several treys and drove for layups one-on-one in those situations, and consistently got the mismatches they wanted on switches.

Layups by junior forwards Alex Voss and Nate Brooks late in the half helped UChicago go into halftime with a 43-34 lead. The Maroons made half their shots, with nine points by Smith and eight points each for Voss and Perez. The Eagles made 41.9 percent on their field goals.

The momentum definitively swung to the visitors in the second half. Emory suppressed good looks defensively and went after UChicago on the other end. The Eagles went on a 16-0 run and went ahead at 50-43. The Maroons looked lost during the run and finally snapped the eight-minute scoreless streak with a three-pointer from freshman forward Collin Barthel.

With the big run over, UChicago got back to basics and kept working for shots in close. The next five field goals were layups, with sophomore guard Tyler Howard accounting for three of them. With momentum see-sawing, the Eagles recaptured the advantage at 63-59. Voss put the Maroons on his back with seven-straight points to go back ahead 66-63.

The game was tied at 69-69 with three minutes left when the home team made its move. UChicago scored 10 straight points, which started with a layup and a free throw by Barthel. Smith nailed a big three at 75-69 and threw down a transition dunk on the other end. The junior accounted for his team's final eight points en route to 19 points total.

The Maroons made nine three-pointers, but struggled again at the free throw line, shooting 53.1 percent (17-32). UChicago won the rebounding battle 40-34 and held a 22-11 advantage on second-chance points. Both teams took care of the ball, combining for only 13 turnovers.

UChicago Team Stats & Leaders
Field-goal Percentage – 45.8 percent (27-59)
Three-point Percentage – 42.9 percent (9-21)
Free-throw Percentage – 53.1 percent (17-32)
Jordan Smith (Guard, Jr.) – 19 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds
Alex Voss (Forward, Jr.) – 15 points, 9 rebounds
Collin Barthel (Forward, Fr.) – 13 points, 6 rebounds

Emory Team Stats & Leaders
Field-goal Percentage – 42.6 percent (26-61)
Three-point Percentage – 30.4 percent (7-23)
Free-throw Percentage – 83.3 percent (15-18)
Alex Foster – 18 points, 9 rebounds
Michael Florin – 17 points, 4 assists

NEXT GAME:

  • Friday, January 23 – UChicago at Brandeis University, 8 PM (ET)