UChicago men's basketball falls at the buzzer 70-68 to Washington-St. Louis

Waller Perez and Noah Karras
Waller Perez and Noah Karras

CHICAGONoah Karras sank two clutch jumpers in the final 30 seconds of Saturday's game, and it appeared that the University of Chicago men's basketball team would be heading to overtime. But a goaltending call at the final buzzer saddled UChicago with a 70-68 loss to Washington University-St. Louis.

The Maroons dropped to 8-4 on the season and 0-1 in the University Athletic Association (UAA). The No. 24-ranked Bears moved to 9-3 overall and 1-0 in UAA action.

Early on in the conference opener, it was all WashU. The visitors took leads of 12-5 and eventually 24-12 through 10 minutes of play. The Bears sank four three-pointers in that time frame. Meanwhile, UChicago struggled to find any rhythm offensively. WashU was aggressively bodying up in the post to deny passes to senior forward Blaine Crawford and also stalked the perimeter to not allow any room for the Maroons to roam. The shot clock was a constant opponent, as the home side took many shots in the final eight seconds.

But after a timeout, UChicago found its footing. Back-to-back threes courtesy of junior guard Jake Fenlon and junior forward Collin Barthel got the squad on the comeback trail. Two more treys from senior guard Tyler Howard and sophomore guard Noah Karras whittled the deficit down to 30-29. The Maroons took a 36-35 lead into halftime after freshman guard Jordan Baum lit up a three.

The three-point prowess helped the charge – UChicago made 7 of 12 from deep in the half. Crawford and Karras each contributed eight points.

However, those long jumpers dried up for the Maroons in the second half as they struggled to a 2-for-12 finish from beyond the arc. WashU on the other hand kept converting from deep. Clinton Hooks and Jake Knupp were regularly open on the perimeter beyond 20 feet as UChicago was consistently hung up while navigating around screens.

A three-point and layup by senior forward Waller Perez put the Maroons up 56-55. But WashU ripped off eight points in-a-row to take a 63-56 lead of its own. UChicago turned to Perez down the stretch and the forward delivered two more layups and a free throw by bullying and spinning his way into the paint. The senior's and-one layup brought his team back to within 66-63 with 1:24 left on the clock.

Karras provided the heroics in the final 30 seconds. With the Bears still clamping down defensively and denying good looks, Karras nailed a tough step-back jumper from 18 feet out with 28 seconds remaining. The sophomore then tied the game up at 68-68 with a contested three from the right wing that rippled the net with 12 seconds left in the game.

WashU immediately took off down the court for the final possession and Knupp's driving layup was stopped with three seconds left. Hooks corralled the rebound and threw up a fall-away prayer as time expired that was goaltended by the Maroons, giving the visitors a 70-68 win.

Overall, UChicago shot 46.6 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from three (9-24) while WashU shot 42.9 percent from the field and 43.5 percent from long range (10-23). Rebounds went to the Maroons 36-34 and the Bears took turnovers 11-9.

Perez paced the offense with 16 points to go with five rebounds. Karras scored 13 points in 15 minutes off the bench. Crawford added 12 points and seven rebounds.

NEXT GAME:

  • Friday, Jan. 13 @ 8 PM (ET) – UChicago at University of Rochester