After two weeks of winter break, the men’s basketball team returned to practice and prepared themselves for the latter half of the season. Since the beginning of this year, the Yellowjackets only lost two of eight games.

In the first game of the year, UR dominated Rochester Institute of Technology, scoring almost twice as much as their opponents. The team dominated the boards grabbing 51 rebounds to RIT’s distasteful 19. They easily won with the final score, 87-45.

In 15 minutes of play, sophomore Dan Milbrand posted a career high 15 points while grabbing six rebounds. Sophomore Jon Onyiriuka joined him in the double digits category, scoring 12 points, rebounding nine and blocking two.

Failing to overcome New York University two days later with a final score of 50-68, UR traveled to Brandeis University to make a dramatic win. After being down in the second half by six, Brandeis returned with a 10-0 run to take the lead. Spectators knew from then on that they were experiencing a good battle.

Scoring a career high of 24 points, Onyiriuka saved the day when he was fouled by Brandeis’s Steven Hill. Though he missed the first free throw, he banked the second, making it the game-winner.

The Yellowjackets hosted the JPMorgan Chase tournament two weekends ago where Rochester area teams battled for the Chase title. After beating Nazareth College and Roberts Wesleyan College, they fought relentlessly against St. John Fisher College for the crown.

The game remained close through the first half and well into the second. UR came within one point after senior Mike Goia and junior Eric Snider made back to back lay-ups with 9:45 left in the game.

Unfortunately, St. John Fisher stormed back with heavy defense and aggressive offense. They were able to hold UR to only 50 points at the three-minute mark while they slowly worked their way up to 59 points by the end of the game.

Despite the disappointing loss at the Chase final, the Yellowjackets returned from the road this past weekend to face Emory University. The home team charged on early without looking back.

They led by 16 points at the half. Emory cut the deficit to as much as 12 midway into the second half with a three-point play executed by Emory’s Alex Ford-Carther. However, it was not enough.

UR played too well with its home crowd cheering them on at the Palestra, finishing the game, 69-46.

Goia led the team with 14 points, shooting an impressive 70 percent from the field. He also dished out two assists and grabbed three rebounds. Onyiriuka fell two points shy of a double-double, garnering eight points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore and point guard Jeff Juron took out his bag of tricks, scoring 13, rebounding four and assisting three.

“Defensively we stopped their penetration, shut down any inside presence and dominated the glass,” Snider said.

UR also faced Case Western Reserve University this past Sunday. The Yellowjackets led by as much as 12 with 6:32 left in the first half and with 11:11 left in the second half. In a matter of five minutes, Case Western went on an 11-2 run to trim the UR lead to three with 5:44 left.

“I think the reason the game was so close was due to our inability to make some shots,” Goia said.

Their return did not stop Juron from sinking a three-pointer with the shot clock winding down and 1:20 left in regulation, which gave UR a 50-45 lead. UR used the clock strategically from then on to end the game.

“When I let it go, I actually thought it was short,” Juron said about his three-pointer. “I was relieved when it went in.”

With a 12-4 record on their back pockets, the Yellowjackets will face second-ranked Washington University and University of Chicago this weekend.

Lee can be reached at alee@campustimes.org.



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