Without the Yellowjacket fans, road games can be tough. The men’s basketball team faced back-to-back University Athletic Association opponents this past weekend.

UR battled for the 13th win of the year against the Washington University in St. Louis Bears. Both teams scored about the same for most of the first half. Fifteen minutes into the game the Bears went on an unexpected spurt, outscoring UR 18-6 until the end of the half.

Without surprise, head coach Mike Neer was disappointed at the Yellowjacket performance toward the end of the first half.

The Yellowjackets were down by as much as 17 points, but they would not relent. Junior Tim Brackney started a rally with 14 minutes left in the game, handing a couple of assists to sophomores Uche Ndubizu and Jon Onyiriuka for easy layups.

No one can argue that senior Mike Goia played a big role in the rally. He sunk three from behind the arc during the late Yellowjacket spark. He drew a foul while shooting a three-pointer late in the game, making all three free throws to trim the lead down to six with 3:36 left. Goia finished with 23 points and nine rebounds.

The late game hero of the last game against Case Western Reserve University, sophomore Jeff Juron, made another critical three to cut the deficit down to three with less than a minute left to go. Unfortunately, UR was unable to hold on, losing to the Bears, 67-62.

After a day of rest, UR tried once again to garner their 13th win, playing against the University of Chicago Maroons.

The Yellowjackets were outpaced by the Maroons. UR almost went on a seven minute drought in the middle of the first half, whereas the Maroons drained four threes in a 20-0 run.

The Maroons remained red-hot in all areas from the field, shooting at an abnormal 65.2 percent. UR shot a deplorable 34.6 percent from the field. They were also out-rebounded by 13.

Onyiriuka tried to engage everyone to retaliate by scoring back-to-back jumpers in the start of the second half. Although he finished with 18 points, it was not enough to cool down Chicago’s heat that night.

The main reason for UR’s defeat Sunday night was their weak defense. The Yellowjackets were unable to respond to Chicago’s first half spurt and attack offensively in the second half.

“At Chicago, we suffered a collective defensive meltdown of nuclear proportions,” Neer said. “We did not sustain focus on defense nor did we counter-attack well on offense.”

Of course, Neer would stress a stronger defense in his playbook this weekend when UR faces rematches against both the Bears and the Maroons. This time, however, the games will be held in the house of the Yellowjackets.

Lee can be reached at alee@campustimes.org.

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