The men’s basketball improved their record to 11-3 by going 6-2 over winter break. More importantly, the Yellowjackets went 2-1 against tough conference opponents and are now ranked third in the University Athletic Association conference. However, you do not need Dick Vitale to break down UR’s two losses since Dec. 4.
It’s simple – they couldn’t hit from downtown. The Yellowjackets shot well below their three-point percentage average for the year – 23 percent to be precise.
In close games – Rochester Institute of Technology and Carnegie Mellon University were able to knock down more three-pointers than the Yellowjackets.
Good news – senior Gabe Perez returned to the hardwood after a short absence from the team. He immediately contributed by making hustle plays, running the offense and dishing out assists in six games.
“I’m very glad to be back and have been working hard to get back in shape and contribute to the team,” Perez said. “We have yet to reach our potential, but we are working together to get closer to our goals.”
Bad news – senior transfer Mike Goia will redshirt this season due to a broken wrist.
On Dec. 4, visiting UR fell to CMU 78-71.
Freshman Jeff Juron finished with a career best 21 points and senior Seth Hauben scored a game high 26 points and collected 14 rebounds.
All five CMU starters scored in double figures. Four days later, the men’s team rebounded with a 69-55 victory over Hobart College.
Freshman Jon Onyiriuka and Hauben combined for 33 points and 23 rebounds. UR’s win denied Hobart a chance to match its best start since 1978-79 when the Statesmen opened 4-0.
UR began the new year exploiting their height and athleticism in a second-half surge over RIT in a 77-62 win on Jan. 4.
Junior Joe Canty shined on offense and defense, scoring a career high 12 points and shutting down RIT’s outside shooters, especially in the second half.
UR held the Tigers to 27 percent shooting and outrebounded the visitors 28-14 in the last 20 minutes.
Perez in his first game back, had 10 points – eight from the foul line – and nine assists in 31 minutes.
The Yellowjackets then traveled east to play important conference games at Brandeis University and New York University. UR brought their “A game” in both contests.
Brandeis and UR battled to the final buzzer. Senior Ryan Mee did his best impression of Reggie Miller, sinking a go-ahead three-
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point goal with 1:05 to play to lead the yellowjackets in a close one, 64-63. Mee and Canty each chipped in 11 points each.
Rochester’s momentum carried over to their contest against NYU in the Big Apple. Brendan McAllister and Seth Hauben lead the way with an inside/outside attack. McAllister hit three first half treys and Hauben scored 23 points in the post. With two UAA victories, Rochester improved its conference record to 2-1, ranking them third in the conference standings.
In a 77-60 victory over Geneseo in the JP Morgan quarterfinals, Rochester advanced to play in a rematch with RIT. The outcome was different this time around. The tigers hit big three-pointers when they needed to, upsetting the second-seed yellowjackets. Seth Hauben paced the Yellowjackets with 23 points and a dozen rebounds for his 10th double-double of the season.
McAllister added 11 points and Perez had eight points and seven assists. Rochester came out on fire in the third-place consolation game against hometown -rival Nazareth in a rout, 90-52.
Rochester sank a season’s high 15 three-point goals. Four players scored in double figures and three others scored at least eight points.
Tim Brackney scored a career best 14 points. Jeff Juron had 12 points – all of them coming in the first half. Brendan McAllister had 11 points and Seth Hauben scored 10.
Hauben also grabbed nine rebounds. In the process, he broke the tournament career rebounding mark with 131 boards in 12 appearances. Rochester claimed 3rd place in the tournament.
Rochester will play a two game homestand this weekend. The yellowjackets play Washington University on Friday at 8:00pm and Chicago University on Sunday at 12pm.
Rovinsky can be reached at email@example.com.