In their UAA conference opener on Saturday, the men’s basketball team traveled to Pittsburgh and defeated Carnegie Mellon, 60-51. In their first road game of the season, the Yellowjackets kept their composure in a tough environment against a stingy CMU defense as they turned the ball over 11 times, a season low.
“The whole team collectively took care of the ball and got it to the guys down low where we knew we had a great match-up,” junior point guard Jeff Juron said.
Juron and the rest of the Yellowjackets stuck to the game plan and took advantage of the match-up in the post. Junior big man Uche Ndubizu dominated as the team’s workhorse by putting up 21 points and ripping 15 boards in 37 minutes of action.
Juron continued his steady play as the floor general, finishing with 11 points and four assists in 36 minutes. Sophomore Mike Chmielowiec also notched 11 and added a pair of treys in the winning cause.
Midway through the first half, Chmielowiec buried a three while being fouled. After knocking down the free throw to complete the four-point play, the ‘Jackets led 21-14. CMU then battled back and tied it up, 29-29, as they entered halftime.
In the first 11 minutes of the second half, neither team was willing to budge until Rochester went on a 10-1 run to take the lead, 52-44, with 5:12 remaining in the game. During the offensive outburst, Juron dished out two assists and nailed a jumper while Ndubizu contributed with six points.
Only two players for the Tartans scored more than six points. Brad Matta finished with 13 while Ryan Einwag had 12. Rochester shot only 52 percent from the foul line (17-32) keeping the Tartans alive, but nailed six of their last eight to ice the game. This victory was the Yellowjackets’ first win at CMU since 2004.
This was the Yellowjacket’s first victory at CMU since 2004.
On Tuesday night, the Jackets overpowered Hobart 80-63 in the Palestra for their fifth consecutive win. Once again Rochester had great match-ups down low as the post players controlled the game. Ndubizu scored a career high 23 points with seven rebounds as he converted 11 of 13 shots from the floor. Junior Jon Onyiriuka nailed down a double-double as he finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds while senior Tim Brackney netted 11 points and freshman Brad Runco added 10.
In his last three contests, Ndubizu is averaged 21.7 points and 10 rebounds per game. When asked how he maintains his current hot streak, Ndubizu said, “Just by being focused and placing myself in a position where I can help out my teammates.”
In most of the first half, the scoring went back and forth until the Jackets stepped it up and went on a 18-4 run in the last 8:44 to take a 32-20 lead at the break. Just 2:55 into the second half, UR extended its lead to 17 and had all the momentum after an ally-oop dunk by Onyiriuka. Brackney had the ball beyond the three point arc when a slashing Onyiriuka ran the baseline. Quickly recognizing it, Brackney lofted a pass that Onyiriuka plucked out of the air and flushed home for the reverse slam that brought the fans to their feet.
With 12:47 left, the ‘Jackets led by 22 points, 52-30, and completely controlled the momentum and tempo of the game. Hobart’s John Grazioli then went on a little scoring tear of his own dropping 12 points in seven minutes. The Statesmen cut into the lead towards the end of the game getting it down to 13, but it was too little too late as the Jackets sent Hobart home with their fourth loss of the season. Grazioli led Hobart with 21 points while Rob Genovese scored 14 and Mike Manning finished with 13.
The ‘Jackets are 6-1 and will put their five game win streak on the line tonight at 8 p.m. when they travel to St. John Fisher to clash with their cross-town rival. Rochester and Fisher have established themselves as the basketball powerhouses in the area, which should create an electrifying atmosphere for tonight’s game. “Hobart was a good win, but the real test will be on Thursday at Fisher,” Ndubizu said. Kahovec is a member of the class of 2008.