After bringing in the new year with a 60-54 victory over Rochester Institute of Technology, it was time for the men’s basketball team to get down to business since they had their work cut out for them with a full slate of competition ahead. In the RIT game, which was played in the Palestra on Jan. 2, sophomore Mike Chmielowiec and senior Tim Brackney finished with 18 and 14 points, respectively.

UR then shellacked No. 23 ranked Brandeis University, 83-65, in a University Athletic Association game.

This game was a historic victory for the Rochester basketball program because it marked Coach Mike Neer’s 500th career victory. Coach Neer has been the head coach at UR for 31 years.

The game was never in jeopardy as the ‘Jackets went on a 20-0 run during a five minute period in the first half.

Junior Jeff Juron finished with 15 points while junior Jon Onyiriuka had 13 points and nine rebounds.

In their next conference match up, UR lost a hard fought battle to No. 20 New York University, 70-61, in the Palestra. With only a few ticks left on the clock, UR was holding onto a three point lead. NYU inbounded the ball, and Michael DeCorso buried a three pointer with 1.2 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime.

The Violets took over from there, as they outscored UR 13-4 in the extra period. Onyiriuka had 15 points and 11 boards for UR while Brackney added 12.

After being seeded third for the JP Morgan Chase Scholarship Tournament, the ‘Jackets steamrolled through the competition and took home their eighth Chase Tournament title after defeating SUNY Geneseo, 80-53, in the championship game at Roberts Wesleyan College.

UR set two tournament records in the game by shooting 68.3 percent from the floor and allowing the least amount of points scored in one half (13).

In the championship game, the ‘Jackets led 39-13 at halftime and held their largest lead in the opening minutes of the second half with a 54-21 lead after a 15-6 run led by back to back three pointers from Chmielowiec. The UR shooters were on fire as they dropped seven of 12 treys in the game.

Four Yellowjacket players were in double figures, led by Chmielowiec, who scored a game high 19 points. Brackney, Onyiriuka and freshman Brad Runco all finished with 12 points each.

Chmielowiec had the hot hand during the whole tournament and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

For the tournament, he averaged 18.3 points per game, shot 67.9 percent from the floor (19 for 28) and 75 percent from beyond the arc as he drained nine of 12 from threeland.

“This tournament really gives the winner bragging rights in Rochester for the year and it was nice to get another crack at some teams we saw earlier,” Chmielowiec said. “To be MVP is a great honor. There have been so many great players who have won MVP and to be a part of that company is incredible.”

Onyiriuka and Juron were both named to the All-Tournament first team. Onyiriuka averaged 12 points and 7.7 rebounds per game during the three game run at the title while Juron finished a solid tournament with 11 assists and four steals for the tournament.

The competition began with a 70-57 win over Nazareth College in a game where UR’s big men seemed to be dunking at will.

Onyiriuka scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half and ripped down 12 boards. The perimeter players got the job done, also, as Chmielowiec nailed four three-pointers in the first eight minutes en route to a 16 point performance, while Juron finished with 12.

In the semifinals, the ‘Jackets played against St. John Fisher in a much anticipated rematch between the two schools that played in an overtime thriller earlier this season where Fisher came out on top. This time, the Yellowjackets rolled to an 82-53 victory in a game that was dominated from the start to finish. The defense stepped up big time all tournament, and this game was no exception. The ‘Jackets did not allow a single Fisher player to score double digits, as their high scorer finished with nine.

Chmielowiec tallied a career high 20 points while junior Dan Milbrand added 10 points and seven boards.

“The second time we played, we were focused on doing the things that cost us the first game and that was rebounding and taking care of the ball. We came out with a chip on our shoulder and felt like we were a better team, and on that night we were,” Chmielowiec said when asked about the difference between the two Fisher games.

Last weekend, UR was on the road for a couple of tough UAA games. On Friday night, the Yellowjackets lost to No. 13 Washington University in St. Louis, 68-59, at the WU Field House.

The first half was a back-and-forth battle, and UR trailed by only a point at the break, 34-33. Most of the second half was the same until Wash U. rallied for a 10-0 run to take a 63-54 lead late in the game. The Bears did the little things right this game as they shot 22 of 25 from the foul line and only turned the ball over nine times compared to UR’s 17. Onyiriuka ended with 22 points and 10 rebounds, his fifth double-double of the season.

The ‘Jackets lost their second game of the weekend on Sunday, 81-74, when it faced off against the University of Chicago. The Maroons rode a school record of 17 three point field goals to victory at the Ratner Athletic Center in Chicago.

Brackney led all UR scorers with his career high of 22 points. He hit four of six from outside the arc. Juron finished with 13, and Onyiriuka shot five of seven from the floor for 10 points.

Jesse Meyer led Chicago’s lights out shooting, as he didn’t miss a single shot all day. He finished with 24 points and was perfect from the floor. He was eight for eight from the field, two for two from the line and drained six of six from beyond the arc.

UR is 11-5 overall and 2-3 in the UAA.

The ‘Jackets are currently fifth in the UAA standings and return to the Palestra when they host Case Western Reserve University on Friday at 8 p.m. and Emory University on Sunday at noon.

Kahovec is a member of the class of 2008.



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