CHICAGO – A barrage of three-pointers by Millikin University early and late proved deadly as the University of Chicago men's basketball team lost Sunday's home contest 84-78.
The Maroons (7-4 record) made their return to the Ratner Athletics Center for the first time since November 20. Sunday marked the first-ever men's basketball meeting between UChicago and the Big Blue (7-5 record).
The visitors came out blistering from long range – five of Millikin's first eight field goals of the game were three-pointers. The Big Blue built up a 21-5 lead less than nine minutes into the game, opening themselves up on the perimeter by running off effective screens for catch-and-shoot threes. UChicago had to respect Millikin's height advantage in the post and on screens, which allowed the shooters to get over the top regularly. The Big Blue came into the game ranked 19th nationally in rebounding margin at +10.2 per game.
The paint battle was intense and numerous offensive fouls were whistled. Ultimately, UChicago was outrebounded for the first time all season, 45-28.
However, the Maroons weathered the initial storm and slowly worked themselves back into the game. The rest of the first half saw the hosts break away and close on a monstrous 30-10 run. Junior guard Cole Schmitz was a catalyst with 10 points in 13 minutes played, while junior point guard Jordan Baum submitted seven points and three assists.
A layup and three from Schmitz trimmed the deficit all the way to 28-27. Eight-straight points in the final two minutes allowed UChicago to take a 37-33 lead at the break.
Senior forward Ryan Jacobsen provided a highlight with a steal at the top of the key and layup through contact at 46-42. But from that point, Millikin was able to recapture its lost momentum with an efficient offense that started to knock down shots again after a dry spell. A 13-4 burst put the visitors ahead 55-50.
Dominic Laravie kept the Maroons afloat with his aggression on drives to the basket. The sophomore forward tallied nine-straight UChicago points to help tie the game up at 55-55, including an and-one layup conversion.
The Big Blue answered back to go up 69-59. Then it was Baum's turn to catch fire. An and-one and two three-pointers from the lefty tied the game up at 74-74 with two minutes left in the contest.
But it was Zach Fisher who provided the dagger at 80-76 with 71 seconds left to make it a two-possession game. Fisher finished with a game-high 30 points and seven treys as Millikin held off UChicago in the final moments.
Laravie established a new career high with 20 points to go with seven rebounds. Schmitz posted 19 points on 7 of 11 shooting. Baum tallied 18 points and six assists running the offense.
The Maroons shot 42.2 percent from the field but only 26.7 percent on threes (8-30). Millikin made 50.9 percent of its field goals and 41.4 percent from long range (12-29). Both teams were equal at the free throw line (16-24). The Big Blue committed twice as many turnovers, 18-9.
- Saturday, Jan. 5 @ 3:00 PM – Washington University – St. Louis at UChicago