UR ended their regular season losing their last three games, including last week’s game against conference champion Carnegie Mellon University. Despite a career high night from center and sophomore Jon Onyiriuka who scored a game-high 31 points in 31 minutes, the Yellowjackets dropped the game 78-68, ending their season with a 16-9 overall record.

The Yellowjackets entered the game determined to make some noise at the end of the season, after being eliminated from conference championship competition last week after losing to Case Western Reserve University and Emory University.

The two had last met on Dec. 3 in a nail-biting shoot-out in which the Carnegie Mellon Tartans squeaked by 72-71 in regulation. The Tartans entered the game tied with Washington University in St. Louis for the conference lead at 9-4.

Determined not to be swept in the season series, the Yellowjackets hung with the Tartans early, with the score tied seven minutes into the game, before the Tartans went on a 13-2 run over the next three minutes. The Yellowjackets were able to close within four with 5:11 left in the first half, but the Tartans soured any momentum the Yellowjackets were trying to take into the break by going on a 17-2 run to close out the half. Shooting a blistering 64 percent from behind the arc, the Tartans took a 43-26 lead into the break.

The Yellowjackets came out of the break with a couple of quick baskets from guard and senior Mike Goia and a jumper from Onyiriuka. Yet, every time the Yellowjackets attempted to make a run, it would be quickly squashed by the hot hands of the Tartans.

Despite outplaying the Tartans in the paint 36-28 and a plus five turnover margin favoring the Yellowjackets, it wasn’t enough to pull out the victory as the Tartans shot 49 percent from the field to UR’s 43.3 percent. Also contributing for UR were sophomores Robert Dominiak and Uche Ndubizu with 6 and 8 points respectively.

Asked how he scored six points in one minute, Dominiak said, “I don’t know, I just shot it.”

The Yellowjackets made one final charge at the end of the game, pulling within nine with about three minutes left in the second half, but solid free throw shooting by CMU sealed the win, as the Yellowjackets were forced to intentionally foul in the closing minutes of the game. The Tartans were led by senior forward Nate Maurer with 16 points in 27 minutes.

The Yellowjackets ended their season with a disappointing three-game losing streak on the road, even after sweeping a four-game home stand. At the final count, UR tied with Brandeis University and New York University for fourth place in the UAA at 7-7 .

Wang can be reached at bwang@campustimes.org.



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