CHICAGO – The University of Chicago men's basketball team saw its hot shooting in the first half cool precipitously in the second half and Babson College pulled away to win 82-70 on Saturday.
The Maroons wrapped up its non-conference schedule with an 8-3 record. The No. 1-ranked Beavers improved to 10-1.
From the opening tip, UChicago made a concerted effort to feed Blaine Crawford in the post for early looks. The senior forward bullied his way to the rim effectively with his size and accounted for eight of the team's opening 17 points. Senior forward Waller Perez and senior guard Tyler Howard also started out scoring in the paint, combining for nine points in the first six minutes.
The Maroons focused defensively on Babson's leading scorer Joey Flannery (26.3 points per game), and forced him into passing off regularly. However, Flannery found open shooters with his drive and kicks, with several ensuing jumpers finding the bottom of the net.
A quick seven-point surge gave the hosts a 27-20 lead. Junior forward Collin Barthel was fouled on a three-point attempt and converted all his free throws to make the score 30-24. The three-pointers began to fall as well late in the first half. Sophomore guard Noah Karras and junior guard Jake Fenlon bracketed a Crawford layup with a pair of treys to push the lead to 41-33.
Babson battled back to draw within 43-40 at the halftime buzzer. UChicago's work on the glass was a big strength with a 21-11 rebounding advantage – seven by Crawford and eight by Barthel. Crawford also tallied 12 points.
While UChicago shot 52 percent in the first half, the scoring touch dried up in the second half to a 29 percent rate. The Beavers subsequently grabbed the lead, with UChicago hanging close at 54-52 thanks to a Perez layup. But a 21-6 run over a six-minute stretch midway through the half put the visitors in the driver's seat at 75-58. Babson's aggressive cuts to the lane, drawn fouls and increased level of intensity got the team on a roll as UChicago couldn't find the defensive counter.
The Maroons got to within 76-67 after a Fenlon free throw with two minutes remaining. The Beavers closed out from there and finished with a 52.6 percent shooting performance from the field.
In the final stats, UChicago shot 40.4 percent from the field and 25 percent from three-point range (7-28). Rebounds went in favor of the Maroons 36-32 while turnovers went to Babson 8-11.
Crawford posted his sixth double-double of the season with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Perez chipped in 13 points and four assists, Karras tallied 11 points and Barthel contributed eight points and 11 rebounds.
- Saturday, Jan. 7 @ 3:00 PM – Washington University-St. Louis at UChicago